When the NHL finally decided to have a season last week, many Leafs fans knew Brian Burke was on thin ice. There was a large segment of fans who believed Burke had only the upcoming shortened season to turn things around. Arguably, there was an even bigger group of fans who believed Burke had the current season, and then the offseason – where two of his former star players could be available - to turn the Leafs into a contender.
No one believed Burke wouldn’t oversee the Leafs starting the season on January 19th. [more…]
At this point in time, it is probably fair to call Morgan Rielly the most hyped Leafs prospect since Wendel Clark. I don't know whether or not that's fair, but with great hype comes great expectations.
To this point, Rielly hasn’t done anything to really quash the excitement that is building for him. He’s scored electric goals, he’s played well for Canada in the past, and now he’s on the World Juniors team.
In essence, Rielly is following the path of many elite defensemen before him. With that in mind, I collected some stats on how players he’s been compared to have performed in this tournament. Hopefully, it will serve as some sort of barometer on what to expect from the young Leafs prospect. [more…]
On Saturday, I took in the Marlies 4-2 win against St. John’s with McKeen's Hockey pro scouting coordinator Gus Katsaros. First off, he’s an excellent hockey guy who you should follow on Twitter @KatsHockey, if you aren't already. More relevant to this piece, we discussed numerous Marlies and Leafs-related matters that I’ll go over here as points of discussion and analysis. [more…]
With the lockout in full force, I thought Iâ€™d try to get you all thinking about this actual Leafs team again. Take my word for it: eventually, even if the season is completely wiped out, NHL hockey will again be played and a new Leafs season will begin. When that happens, as is our nature, we will all get back to arguing with each other about various Leaf-related topics. On a chilly Tuesday in the dead of the lockout (snow doesn't have the same appeal without the Leafs on the TV at night, does it?), here's ten things to fill your time thinking about: [more…]
It was met with a lot of skepticism when the St. John's Maple Leafs were relocated to Toronto in 2005.Â Seven years later, the move just continues to look better and better.
The Leafs' AHL affiliate had excellent attendance numbers and were highly popular in St. Johnâ€™s during their time there. The move was a result of the Leafsâ€™ desire to reduce travel costs and fill the Ricoh. While the attendance was terrible for the Marlies' first few years of existence â€“ including a low point when barely 2800 people showed up for their first ever home playoff game in 2006 - the team is finally establishing a presence in the city. As the lockout drags on, many Toronto hockey fans are now turning their attention to the Marlies and even taking in a game or two if possible. [more…]
Since thereâ€™s no NHL to speak of at the moment, Leafs Notebook is turning into Marlies Notebook until this lockout is over.
Hereâ€™s the thing though: with different leagues comes different expectations and viewing experiences.
When it comes to watching and evaluating the NHL, itâ€™s very simple: winning is all that matters. Each team in the league continuously tries to get better, figuring out how to start winning or continue winning. In the AHL, that is not necessarily the case. At the end of the day the Marlies will probably be judged by many based on the win and loss column, but what really matters - to me - is the progression of their players and how they can eventually help the Leafs win at the next level. [more…]
With the NHL lockout in full force and not looking as if it is going to end anytime soon, fans are rightfully turning their hockey-starved eyes toward action in Europe and the junior ranks. When it comes to Leafs fans, most are understandably searching out hockey that contains Leafs property, specifically prospects.
The Marlies are primed to compete for another championship, the Leafs have a shiny new toy playing out in the WHL, and the OHL is full of Burke selections. Itâ€™s as a good time as any for fans to be watching Leafs prospects. Here are some things to look for and keep in mind while watching these players this year: [more…]
We had some Leafs news yesterday as Francois Allaire announced he isn't returning and we found out the extent of Joe Colborne's injury.
When it comes to Colborne's injury, I'll say a few things quickly.
Leafs management knew Joe was hurt in January, yet he played the rest of the year. To our knowledge, he didn't further damage himself further physically by doing so but he didn't play nearly as well as he was prior to the injury. To put it in perspective, Big Joe had 23 points in 22 games before hurting his hand, and only 16 in 43 after the incident. Colborne had surgery in June and is hoping to be back for October, which is over four months of recovery. He would have been back roughly around April/May had he gotten surgery immediately upon being injured. [more…]
As the old saying goes, you have to learn how to walk before you can run. For a Leafs team that finished 25th out of 30 teams last year and has made few changes so far this summer, the Maple Leafs are still very much in that walking process.
The big changes Leafs fans hoped for haven't quite come to fruition as of right now. The Leafs were one of the youngest teams in the NHL last year, crumbled down the stretch, and have to this point only made three noteworthy roster changes this summer by bringing in James van Riemsdyk, Jay McClement and freeing a roster spot up for Korbinian Holzer. Thus, if the Leafs do improve next season, it will mainly be due to internal growth and development from the same group that totaled 80 points last year.
When fans and pundits evaluate teams from year-to-year the most obvious thing to do is to look at who has been subtracted and added to the line-up. Because Burke and co. have made such minimal changes, we are forced to look passed that. Instead, let's take a look at the roster that's returning and some of the areas where internal improvement is possible, hopefully leading to some more wins. [more…]
Earlier today Roberto Luongo got off the ice in Florida and confirmed something many of us already suspected.
"[The Panthers] makes sense for myself, for my career and my family,'' added Luongo, who still has 10 years at $5.33 million per remaining on his deal. "That being said. There's obvious other options as well. This is a preferred location for obvious reasons but I'm not shutting the door on other possibilities if it comes up.''
Luongo maintains a home in Florida with his wife and two young children during the offseason and has made itÂ clear that he wants to be traded, particularly to Florida, after Vancouver committed some money and term to Cory Schneider.
The Leafs, along with the Blackhawks, are also mentioned in the article as teams with goalie issues. The piece also makes sure to note that Dale Tallon has repeatedly stated heâ€™s â€œcontentâ€ with his current goalie trio of Jose Theodore, Scott Clemmensen and Jacob Markstrom. That said, Tallon hasnâ€™t ruled out acquiring Luongo if the price is right. [more…]
Brian Burke all but promised changes this summer. Other than a few moves though, fans probably haven't seen the changes they thought were coming.
At this point, we can probably blame that on the lack of a CBA currently in place as all teams, including the Leafs, have to be weary of making any moves right now considering they don't know the financial landscape of the (possible) season ahead.
That has to be one of the bigger reasons why players such as Matt Lombardi, Tim Connolly and Cody Franson are still on the team. While none of those guys are particularly attractive pieces to acquire at the moment due to lackluster seasons for all, they are players that at least some teams should be willing to take a chance on due to their expiring contracts after next season.
But with no CBA in place, there aren't going to be any teams willing to take that kind of chance. [more…]
Whether or not there is any sort of NHL season this year, there is one thing we do know: there will be an AHL season.
The Toronto Marlies will go into the season looking to defend their regular season division championship and their Western Conference playoff championship. The online odds at canada.betfair.com show they are among the firm favourites, but at this stage it's based on last season's glories, so there is still a lot to prove this year and a long way to go yet.
Even with that kind of target on their back this season, the Marlies will be well-primed to at the very least win their division yet again.
They are set to return most of their core from last season but there will also be some significant changes. [more…]