Friday, May 22, 2015
Authors Posts by Declan Kerin

Declan Kerin

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Game in 6 Highlights | Randy Carlyle Post Game | Kadri’s Controversial Hits

The Leafs move to 11-6-1 with a 2-1 shootout loss after giving up the lead late in Minnesota. The Leafs have only scored three goals in their last four games, only one of which has been at even strength. Let’s hope a back-to-back home and home with the lowly Sabres is the tonic to the offensive woes, but the Sabres will have good first impressions to play for with new head coach Ted Nolan behind the bench.

  1. It was a pretty boring start to this road game, but a relatively safe one from the Leafs perspective. Toronto was doing their their best to force Minnesota wide and was was sending short dumps into the neutral zone and forcing Minnesota to transition.
  2. While focused on tipping a shot on goal, Kadri gave Backstrom a forearm shiver that was avoidable but not pre-meditated. Backstrom was laying motionless on the ice, a sight no one wants to see. The resulting powerplay generated nothing much in the way of opportunities. After Josh Harding took over from Backstrom, Kadri drew a hooking penalty and TO went to the PP. The first shift saw PP#1 with great movement, nice D-to-D passes, and 3-4 shot attempts. PP#2 brought more quick puck movement and chances. Gardiner took a great charge in from the point and got a shot off just before the period ended. Shots were 7-6 Toronto after 20 minutes.
  3. The Leafs had only 11 forwards and were rotating their bottom six lines, but Ashton-McClement-Orr offered a great cycle and were able to eat up zone time in the first. If this team were healthy, this line should be the fourth.
  4. Kadri was at the centre of just about every refereeing decision in this one. In the early second, Cooke drew one by squeezing his legs together for a hook that was really more of a hold on Kadri’s stick. The Leafs killed it off with great work from McClement and Kulemin, especially.
  5. After who else but Kadri got hooked by Charlie Coyle, PP#1 had some trouble getting into a rhythm and another PP chance looked to be waning. PP#2 came to the rescue: Gardiner made a great baseball play to keep the puck in, Rielly walked in off the point and ripped a great rist shot off a quick release, and Harding kicked out a rebound to  Raymond, who made it 1-0 Leafs. This seemed to inject some life into a boring first half of the game.
  6. After the Leafs carried momentum and looked to take over play for a short while, Minnesota came back just as hard and controlled the pace of play. Perhaps it’s Toronto’s injuries or just the makeup of the team, but they are simply not hard enough on pucks and still turning the puck over in dangerous areas of the ice to put their mighty offense to work. It’s a wait-and-see proposition, but you would like to see better battles along the boards and to see players first to pucks more consistently than what the Leafs have been displaying in the last 5 games.
  7. The 3rd period from the Leaf standpoint was drastically hindered by three separate penalties: Jay McClement (Tripping), Jerred Smithson: (Interference), and Nazem Kadri’s 10 Minute Match Penalty for Deliberate injury (Served by Phil Kessel). The Kadri penalty will get a look from the NHL Head Office, but I’m not sure it’s cut and dry; he didn’t leave his feet, his arms were down, but the principal point of his shoulder contact was either the head or just below it. We’ll wait and see on that one. It seemed to look and sound worse in real time than it was on the slow motion replay;  Granlund’s head was down as he fished for the puck, and Kadri seemed to land a tough but clean hit. Kadri’s stick also smacked the boards,  making it sound worse than it was.
  8. Almost half of the 3rd period was spent on the penalty kill. Despite being a “bad Corsi player,” Jay McClement (and Nikolai Kulemin) are absolute machines on the PK.  Active sticks and consistent clearings from both players. Not sure we can emphasize enough how important McClement is as one of the more subtle core pieces on this Leafs team. The Leafs sustained only two shots on a 5 minute penalty kill, and only once allowed Minnesota to set up for sustained zone time.
  9. The Leafs were holding on for dear life in the final ten, and were edging closer to stealing this game. That’s until Kessel capped off a game of whiffing on the puck and struggling to find openings by floating a soft pass in the middle of the slot, intended for Raymond, that was intercepted and left Rielly and Ranger scrambling. A pass out front connected with Parise’s skate and would’ve bounced out of danger, but Kessel was scrambling back and it bounced off of his skate, as well, and went in the empty net. A combination of both a horrible giveaway at a crucial time in the game and poor luck.
  10. 4-on-4 OT didn’t produce anything, but the Leafs outshot the Wild 3-0 during that shortened frame. The shootout saw Parise and Pominville beat Bernier while Kessel did his best Lee Stempniak impression, sort of summing up his night.

The Leafs don’t get a point without Jonathan Bernier’s unshakable play in net, but we’ve almost come to expect it of our goaltenders. Also worth noting on the positive side of the ledger is that the Leafs’ D, 1-7, played well in their own zone. Best defenceman tonight? Paul Ranger. He broke up more than a handful of plays with a strong stick and delivered consistently on his first pass. The game seems to have slowed down for him now that he’s had 15+ to adjust to NHL speed.

The Leafs special teams got back on track after costing the Leafs in Boston on Saturday, going 1 for 3 on the powerplay and 5 for 5 on the penalty kill, which understates their penalty killing excellence on the night given one was a five minute major.

We’ll await word from the league office on any supplemental discipline for Kadri. The one thing this team cannot afford is another lost centre for any length of time.

You be the judge:

Collision with Backstrom:

If Gionta didn’t get suspended….

Hit on Granlund:

You wonder if Kadri throwing any big hit, clean or dirty, was going to get him in trouble after his run in with Backstrom.

Maple Leafs at Wild - November 13th

Leafs 1 at Wild 2.
7:32:00TOR PPG - Mason Raymond (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Morgan Rielly (6), Nazem Kadri (9)1 - 0 TOR
15:43:00MINZach Parise (9) Wrist shot - ASST: Charlie Coyle (2), Mikko Koivu (11)1 - 1 Tie

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If the Leafs can pull this off, it would be a huge win not only in keeping Boston behind them in the divisional race, but in boosting confidence for a banged up team facing extended time without Bolland and Bozak.

Keys to the Game for the Leafs:

1 – The Bruins defense pinch heavily almost every play and force the Leafs to play on the boards, which is a weakness for them.  The Leafs need to keep the puck 3ft or so off the boards and make the Bruins play in the open ice — not necessarily the Bruins strength – and use aerial passes when available if those options are not available.  If the Leafs don’t work on this, they will not be able to break out with efficiency this evening.

2 – Play the Bruins hard whistle-to-whistle. Do not engage in in after whistle skirmishes (looking at you, David Clarkson).

3 – The Bruins send two men in and try to force d-to-d passes; passes have to be firm, crisp and on point.

4 – Try not to let the Bruins consistently set up below goal line in on your own zone. The Bruins feast on a cycle and on great board play once they have the D facing the wrong way from the net.

5 – The Bruins defense is more mobile than it was last season, but stretching them out when the opportunity presents itself will generate odd man rushes.

Lines: Leafs vs. Bruins, November 9, 2013.
Leafs Lineup  
Left WingCenterRight Wing
Left DefenseRight Defense
Starter: Reimer

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Under Armour
Under Armour





Global Performance Brand and Toronto Maple Leafs Launch Social Media Contest to Win the Ultimate Hockey Experience

Baltimore, MD (October 18, 2013) – Under Armour (NYSE:UA), the leading sports performance apparel, footwear and accessories brand, announced today that they are launching “Storm the Centre” for Minor Hockey Bantam and Midget teams in the Greater Toronto Area. Created in partnership with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), “Storm the Centre” is a multi- faceted competition that will provide two minor hockey teams the opportunity to step on the ice at Air Canada Centre and be the Leafs for a day.

“Storm the Centre” will be hosted through the microsite The program, which launches Saturday, October 12, will play out in several phases that require skills and determination on and off the ice, leading to the ultimate prize of ‘storming’ the Air Canada Centre to play the ultimate game.

“The Storm the Centre contest provides a great opportunity for our brand to work with world-class partners in Canadian hockey and design the ultimate hockey experience for Minor Hockey players,” said Corey Friesen, Director of Marketing, Americas, Under Armour.  “Under Armour is all about making all athletes better at every level and this opportunity will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for rising athletes to play like a professional for a day.”

The competition will consist of three periods. The first period will be six weeks of challenges documented through social media, at the end of which, five teams from each age division with the most points move on. In the second period, teams will be tested to show grit and teamwork necessary to advance. The third period is a Live Skills Gauntlet that will include average team speed, accuracy shooting, puck control, shootout, among others. The final five teams will then face off and compete. The two teams that demonstrate the highest level of skill will move on to the final prize – being the Leafs for a day by taking to the ice at the Air Canada Centre in front of fans, friends, family and NHL players.  Both teams that make it to the finals will also receive Under Armour gear.  The winning team will also get the Cup and a signature banner to hang in the rafters of their home arena.

The final game featuring the two winners will be held in January at the Air Canada Centre. Tickets will be made available to the general public.

The “Storm the Centre” digital experience was co-created and co-produced by the in-house Under Armour creative team and Philadelphia-based full service creative agency, Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners.

For more information on “Storm The Centre”, visit or follow Under Armour at or @UnderArmour. To view exclusive videos, check out the page.

About Under Armour, Inc.

Under Armour® (NYSE: UA) is a leading developer, marketer, and distributor of branded performance apparel, footwear, and accessories. The Company’s products are sold worldwide and worn by athletes at all levels, from youth to professional, on playing fields around the globe. The Under Armour global headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland. For further information, please visit the Company’s website at

About Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment LTD.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) is one of the world’s premier sports and entertainment companies that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), the Toronto Raptors (NBA), the Toronto Marlies  (AHL), Toronto FC (MLS), Air Canada Centre, Maple Leaf Square and three digital channels — Leafs TV, NBA TV Canada and GOLTV Canada. MLSE has also invested in four of Toronto’s sports facilities — Ricoh Coliseum, home of the Marlies, BMO Field, home of Toronto FC, Lamport Stadium, and the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence, the practice facility for the Maple Leafs and Marlies. MLSE operates and manages events at Ricoh Coliseum and BMO Field.

About Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners

Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners (RTO+P) is a full service agency that stops at nothing to make its clients unforgettable. They build ideas on every platform and through every discipline from Brand Planning to Interactive; PR, Social Media and Community Building to Design; and Media Planning and Buying to Broadcast Production. Within its red walls on both coasts, storytellers and trailblazers build brands on every platform you can think of…and some you can’t.

Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners has played in just about every category and is currently having a blast working with clients such as Century 21; Coty Brands; Dial for Men; Fox Networks; Melting Pot Restaurants; Planet Fitness; Reyka Vodka; Right Guard; Swarovski; Ska Brewing; TuB Gin and Under Armour. For more information, go to




CJ Koluch
Under Armour, Inc.
[email protected]

Annie Heckenberger
[email protected]


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Toronto Maple Leafs’ win, a 6-5 victory in OT, marks best start
for the franchise in 20 years (1993-1994 Toronto Maple Leafs).

Randy Carlyle and Dallas Eakins are probably going to want to forget this game; it was poorly played with more turnovers than we’ve seen in a while, complete 5-man defensive breakdowns, poor goaltending, no hitting, no commitment and/or sacrifice in the way of blocking shots or being hard on the puck.

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Team Records: Leafs – 0-0-0 vs. Canadiens – 0-0-0
2013-14 Season Series: 0-0
Fantasy Hockey: There’s a new way to play fantasy hockey that turns the season long grind into quick hitting one night leagues. And the best part is that you can win cash every single day. You draft a team for one night and get paid out as soon as the games end that night.Click here to play.

The Toronto Maple Leafs vs The Montreal Canadiens. One of the longest, fiercest rivalries in all of sport and the biggest in the National Hockey League. As always, both teams have a lot to prove. Both were said to have aberrations of seasons in 2012-2013. The Leafs rode unsustainably high shooting percentages and out-worldly goaltending. The Canadiens were a fancystats wet dream—high possession numbers—a good coach, solid defense and goaltending. Gamewatchers see a Habs team with a bad makeup, a lack of talent and size up front, where you need to be best.

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North Toronto Hockey Association

Maple Leafs Hot Stove has been approached by a parent of my Nephew’s Hockey Team seeking out a team sponsor(s). After speaking with Alec, we thought it would be a cool idea to see if the MLHS community would like to join in and sponsor the North Toronto Tyke Select Team.

We will feature a write up on the progress of the team and players, as provided, and we can track the players here. Obviously, we’ll respect the young player’s anonymity and follow them with last names only or in a similarly anonymous way. Alec and I have started the bidding off and hope that you can join in and help some young players enjoy the gift of playing hockey, while making sure that none of them become: A) Montreal Canadiens fans or B) Ottawa Senators fans.

We hope you will join in and share in their joy as we track the season of the young 6 year olds. Follow along while they learn the game, make friends and create lifelong memories.

Every little bit helps, and no donation is too small.

***We are hoping to sponsor the away jerseys for the team, with the MLHS logo on it. ***

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Carl Gunnarsson

The Toronto Maple Leafs have avoided arbitration with defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, with the two sides agreeing to terms on a three-year contract. TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting it’s worth $9.45 million.  Salary is listed at : $2.85m, $3.15m & $3.45m.

The 26-year-old Gunnarsson had one goal and 15 points in 37 regular-season games for the Maple Leafs in 2012-13 and added an assist in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.

A seventh-round pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, Gunnarsson has 12 goals and 69 points in 224 games for the Maple Leafs.

Michael Stevens Stephens had a great year end write up on Gunnarsson. He has this to say about re-signing him.

But when looking at Carl Gunnarsson’s future with the Toronto Maple Leafs, it isn’t a question of ‘if?’ It’s a question of ‘how much?’ The soon-to-be 27 year old is a restricted free agent this summer (on account of a late birthday) and you’ve got think he’s the third highest priority to re-sign after fellow RFAs Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson.

On the most recent Leaf Report podcast, both James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel agreed that Gunnarsson’s cap hit would likely fall between $2.5 and 2.9 million.  Given the number of tough-as-nails minutes he plays, his chemistry with Phaneuf and burgeoning offensive game, I’d reckon his money will be closer to 3.5 million come July 5.

Whatever the cost, I wouldn’t miss the money, as 30-point defensemen and shutdown defensemen are not usually contained within the body of one man, and to have one so cheaply is doubly rare.  The Leafs may need to improve their D corps, but Dave Nonis has real keeper in Carl Gunnarsson.

Scoring Stats Goals Assists Ice Time
2009-10 23 TOR NHL 43 3 12 15 5 8 10 3 0 0 0 9 1 2 45 6.7 922 21:26
2010-11 24 TOR NHL 68 4 16 20 7 -2 14 3 1 0 1 13 0 3 69 5.8 1240 18:15
2011-12 25 TOR NHL 76 4 15 19 6 -9 20 4 0 0 0 9 0 6 89 4.5 1649 21:42
2012-13 26 TOR NHL 37 1 14 15 4 5 14 1 0 0 0 14 0 0 28 3.6 787 21:17
Career NHL 224 12 57 69 22 2 58 11 1 0 1 45 1 11 231 5.2 4599 20:32
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/22/2013.

Here is a list of comparable cap hits among defencemen.

6 Leafs invited to Olympic Camps

Per TSN:

Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews lead a list of 47 players invited to a summer orientation camp for the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team.

The newcomers on the list include young guns like defencemen Alex Pietrangelo and P.K. Subban and forwards Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Claude Giroux and Brad Marchand.

The others are goalie Roberto Luongo, defencemen Dan Boyle, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Shea Weber, and forwards Patrice Bergeron, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Rick Nash, Mike Richards, Eric Staal and Joe Thornton.

The goalies are Luongo, who was the starter in the 2010 gold-medal game, as well as Carey Price, Mike Smith, Corey Crawford and Braden Holtby.

The other defencemen are Karl Alzner, Jay Bouwmeester, Mike Green, Dan Hamhuis, Travis Hamonic, Kristopher Letang, Marc Methot, Dion Phaneuf, Marc Staal and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

The other forwards are Jeff Carter, Logan Couture, Matt Duchene, Chris Kunitz, Andrew Ladd, Milan Lucic, James Neal, Patrick Sharp, Jordan Staal and Martin St.Louis.

Wingers Nikolai Kulemin and Leo Komarov were invited to orientation camps for the Russian and Finnish Olympic squads.

USA Hockey had their roster announced Monday afternoon and Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner, wingers Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk were invited.

Leafs Links