Tuesday night the Leafs' losing streak reached four games, and despite not falling out of the playoff picture yet, the trend of recent play is startling. After a fairly disturbing 5-0 loss to Montreal this past Saturday, the Leafs had a few days to regroup and come into Calgary hungry and ready to work. Instead, fans were presented with an effort that was simply unacceptable, even though the Leafs fired 42 shots at Mikka Kiprusoff. Naturally, with so much on the line and pressure building for this team to finally qualify for the postseason for the first time since the lockout, tension is building among the ranks of Leafs Nation.
With the news breaking that Rick Nash may in fact be available for trade, the remaining two weeks leading up to the trade deadline will undoubtedly be filled with wild speculation about what the eventual package Columbus receives for him. So far, the LA Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs seem to be the most popular teams mentioned as possible destinations, but the asking price sounds like it will be absurdly high. [more…]
Happy Lunch Hour!
The Leafs find themselves in New York City this evening to take on the Rangers and open the renovated Madison Square Garden. Lundqvist is doingÂ his usual miracle-working and tonight is the Rangers home opener, so they will be highly motivated and will present the Leafs with a tough test. Despite their loss to the Flyers on Monday, the Leafs didn't play poorly, and with a few days off they should have some good jump out there tonight, and they'll probably need it against a fired up Rangers team.
The centre position should be improved tonight with Connolly and Bozak expected to draw into the lineup. If Connolly does in fact suit up, it will be interesting to see how long Ron Wilson gives him with Kessel and Lupul before he invokes his classic line-blending to try and create more offence if he sees fit. A lot of buzz has been generated by the blazing start of Joe Colborne in the AHL, and with the logjam of centres on this Leafs team it seems as though some decisions will have to be made if he keeps up his incredible pace. [more…]
On the first day of a new season, the only real question on the minds of Leafs fans is: Will the Toronto Maple Leafs make the playoffs in 2011-12? After a franchise record six consecutive seasons without playoff hockey in the city of Toronto, the startling reality is that there is no guarantee it won't be seven consecutive seasons without playoff hockey. Brian Burke is entering his third full campaign as the General Manager, and while making substantial improvements in several areas of the organization, improvement at the NHL level has been slow.
Brian Burke is an extremely smart man, and isn't one to blindly step into a situation. As a General Manager in the league it is more than reasonable to assume that he understood the difficulty of the job facing the new man in charge. Burke is also not the type of guy to back down from a challenge, and although he was undoubtedly aware that the Toronto franchise was in shambles, it's tough to imagine he knew he was stepping into a runaway train. Regardless of who came in to clean up the mess left behind by the team's prior mistakes, no quick fix was really possible that could get this team back into the playoffs quickly without repeating the same errors that led the team to the state it has wallowed in for years. [more…]
With just seven games left on the schedule for the 2010-2011 NHL season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are still in the hunt for the playoffs. Currently sitting five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Leafs need to keep winning and hope that they get the help they need from the teams ahead of them to sneak into the postseason. Buoyed by the excellent goaltending of James Reimer, the Leafs are looking like a cohesive team committed to pushing as hard as they can towards the common goal of a playoff berth. With any good team, every player has to contribute and commit to the all-important team-first philosophy. Nazem Kadri, recently recalled for his second stint with the big club, is showing he is ready to stick around this time.
While there's no debate that James Reimer has risen to assume the mantle of starting goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, his rise has opened to door for some debate over which direction the team will take with their goaltending as the conclusion of the regular season fast approaches. With just eleven games remaining, and Reimer having started 15 straight, the general consensus seems to be that Giguere will start tonight in Sunrise Florida as the Leafs take on the Panthers in a game the Leafs simply have to get two points from.
Hot on the heels of a shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Pengiuns Saturday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs were given no time to rest before facing off against the Atlanta Thrashers in a rare Sunday matinee. After gaining only a point for their efforts against the Penguins to keep pace with the Carolina Hurricanes, Sunday's game against the Thrashers took on even more meaning as far as implications to the Eastern Conference standings.
All the talk leading up to Monday's contest between the Atlanta Thrashers and the Toronto Maple Leafs was focused on the comments made by Phil Kessel at practice Sunday. As is the case in sports, winning solves a lot of problems, so it was important that the Leafs come out strong and play a solid 60 minutes - if only to silence some of the negativity surrounding the team after the weekend. Especially after coming off a good week in which the Leafs picked up a shootout win over the Florida Panthers and then a shutout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, a strong response to the poor effort in Buffalo was necessary to prevent a slide down the standings.
The Toronto Maple Leafs visited the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night, who were hot on the heels of a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguis on the road the night before. After two straight wins this week over Florida and Carolina, the Leafs found themselves within 10 points of the eighth and final playoff spot and facing a Sabres team who sit only six points back of the eighth seed Atlanta Thrashers. Unfortunately, HSBC Arena is never an inviting place for Toronto, and reigning Vezina goaltender Ryan Miller has owned the Maple Leafs winning 11 of the last 12 meetings between the two teams.
Coming off a shootout win over the Florida Panthers, the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted another Southeast division opponent in the Carolina Hurricanes. The last time these two teams met, Tim Gleason delivered a hard right hand to the nose of Nikolai Kulemin, and the Leafs fell 6-4. To add to the frustration for Leafs fans, Eric Staal passed on Phil Kessel at the All-Star draft and took the opportunity to take a light-hearted jab at Toronto, inspiring a few fans to boo him throughout the game. [more…]
With Braden Holtby holding the Leafs to a single goal on Saturday night, the Leafs offence was looking to get back on track Monday night in Carolina against the Hurricanes. Knowing the Hurricanes feature a few former Leafs players and also their former coach, this is the kind of matchup Leafs fans look at as an indication of whether they're better off now than they were when the castoffs were still Toronto property. [more…]
Introductory note: Please welcome Conor O'Callaghan to MLHS.
It isn't easy to come right back from a 7-0 loss, but that was the situation facing the Leafs tonight as they hosted the Ducks just 24 hours after the New York Rangers dominated them from puck drop to the final horn. With Dan Sexton putting Anaheim up roughly eight minutes into the opening frame with a shot from a bad angle, the Leafs desperately needed something to turn the tide. That something was provided in the form of a massive body check delivered by Leaf captain Dion Phaneuf to an unsuspecting Matt Beleskey at the Ducks' blueline. [more…]