Saturday, May 30, 2015
Authors Posts by Derek Harmsworth

Derek Harmsworth

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Finally the day many of us have been waiting for has arrived.  The NHL Toronto Maple Leafs rookie tournament kicks off this afternoon in London, Ontario, and for many it’s a chance to catch on ice hockey for the first time in quite a while.

Today’s action features the Pittsburgh Penguins rookies taking on the Ottawa Senators rookies in afternoon action.  Also on the bill today, the Maple Leafs rookies will play the Chicago Blackhawks rookies in the nightcap.

Here is all you need to know about today’s games.

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Finally, the moment a lot of us have been waiting for is upon us.  The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Tuesday afternoon the full roster of players who will represent the blue and white at the 2010 rookie tournament, taking place this weekend in London, Ontario.  The event runs from September 11th to the 14th at the John Labatt Centre, and remember Maple Leafs Hot Stove will have wall-to-wall coverage and unprecedented access.

A tap of the pads to Gus Katsaros for providing me the email.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs will host their rookie tournament this year in London, Ontario from September 11th to the 14th, and Maple Leafs Hot Stove will have unprecedented, wall-to-wall coverage of the event.

Join us here for live game blogs, game previews, game reviews, exclusive interviews, and more!  Today, we will look at the top ten Leafs players who will be worth paying extra close attention to at this weekend’s event.

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First, a confession.  Or, more like an obvious statement.

I love covering hockey.  I love covering it, in all of its forms and states.  I love writing game recaps and game previews.  I love writing opinion pieces, and I love talking with those in the hockey business, to pick their brains whenever possible.

Also, one thing most know about me, is that I love the world of radio.

To me, there is nothing better than a day at work when you have the sports radio station on, hours upon hours of good debate, quality guests, and overall exciting programming.

In a perfect world, I’d love to do MLHS radio once a week (if not more) but I know all of us have pretty hectic schedules.  In my time before I became a writer on this site, I spent most of my time toiling in the minor leagues of sports writing.  I did a decent job of gaining interviews and access to players.  I began to develop the practice of recording all interviews I did, for the purpose of later transcribing them.

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The newest member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Clarke MacArthur, took time today to speak with Greg Brady.  Below is the recap.

–MacArthur said the last few days were pretty hectic, but he was relieved to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs and will be coming into town next week.  He also stated later in the interview that he and his wife will immediately begin the process of looking for permanent residence in the city’s downtown area.

–He admitted that there were three others teams interested in his services, but thought Toronto represented the best opportunity, and also the best fit with the look of the team.

In the final part of his 12 Burning Questions series, Derek Harmsworth takes a look at the Maple Leafs chances of getting back to postseason hockey this year.

May 4th, 2004.

Both teams, tired and weary from what had already been a long, arduous road, a journey that had left both teams battered and bruised.  The teams went back and forth, showing tremendous heart and determination, showing what it takes to win hockey games at this time of year.

Up the ice they went, rewarded with a good scoring chance, but stopped by a goaltender who was up to the task.  Then down the ice the other way, another good chance, this time for the other team.  The goalie in this net, equally up to the task of making the save and preserving life, for at least another moment.

Quickly, and in a whirlwind of emotion, it was over.

In part 11 of his 12 Burning Questions series, Derek Harmsworth takes a look at one of the hottest topics in Leafs Nation today: just how long of a leash does Ron Wilson have?

In the summer of 2008, the Toronto Maple Leafs were in the midst of a major overhaul.  Much maligned general manager John Ferguson, Jr. had been relieved of his duties with the organization, and as nice a man as JFJ was when I met him at the Leafs rookie and orientation camp a year prior, there is no solid argument that can be made for him as a good GM.

Ferguson Jr, to his credit, can take solace in the fact that a few of his draft picks are now cracking the Leafs as legitimate players, Kulemin and Gunnarsson among them, although even that fact can be debated  – how much was scouting and how much was general managing?

In a word, John Ferguson Jr. left the Toronto Maple Leafs in shambles, and some of the moves he made, continually sacrificing youth for a quick fix solution (or at least something he thought was a quick fix) have very well set the Maple Leafs back at least an additional few years in the rebuilding process.

In part ten of his 12 burning questions series, Derek Harmsworth takes a look at the importance of a good early start, and if the Leafs can avoid another disastrous start.

There really isn’t any other way to put it.  No matter how you slice it, no matter how you try to spin it, or how you try to put a sugar coating on it, the cold hard fact still shines through.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were not a very good team last year.

Although their stats, and their general play, improved dramatically following the late January trades that saw them overturn nearly half their lineup, the fact remains that the 2009-2010 edition of the Maple Leafs fought inconsistency, as well as young inexperience that had them struggling most of the year.

But it could be argued that never were they worse, than in the first month of the season.

In part nine of his 12 burning questions series, Derek Harmsworth looks at the Maple Leafs special teams, and why it must improve in order for the team to have success.

When it came to doing this 12 burning questions series, I discovered a lot of things about the Leafs, and how I will be looking for different things this year.  And even though I already knew the fact, it was all the more confirmed to me that there really are no definitive answers to these burning questions, at least not in August anyway.

However, as we reach part nine of the series, I can confidently say that I can, for the first time this series, give a more defined answer.

In part eight of his 12 burning questions series, Derek Harmsworth takes a look at the past year that has been for Tomas Kaberle, and whether he can put it all behind him and play at the top of his game.

Yes, I know.  Yet another article dissecting the recent events that have surrounded Tomas Kaberle.  I will pause briefly and let everyone get out that large groan now.

There, now that’s out of the way.

Easily the longest serving member of the Toronto Maple Leafs on this current incarnation of the team, Tomas Kaberle has more or less seen it all in Toronto.  Over the past eight years he has seen highs and lows, heroes and heartbreak, and has been entrenched as a constant on the Leafs blueline.

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It’s time for another MLHS FanPost, DefenceWinsChampionships stops in again and this time takes a closer look at the stats of Maple Leafs defender Luke Schenn, and how those stats stand up beside comparable players.

A True Schenn-derella Story

By Byron Nelson (aka: DefenceWinsChampionships)

Anyone that remembers my last fan post: “A Comparison of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Defensemen”, will already be well-aware of my love of statistics. In that specific piece of writing, I took a look at the 2009/10 season stats for each current member of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ defensive corps. I then used the information I had gathered to make a comparison between them. What was a surprise to many, was the amazing amount of success young blue-liner Luke Schenn seemed to have, finishing in 1st place in the statistical comparison, despite supposedly suffering from the dreaded “sophomore slump” during the season. As a result of this, I decided to do a follow-up fan post on Schenn, this time comparing him to some of the NHL’s elite defensive defensemen.

In part seven of his 12 burning questions series, Derek Harmsworth takes a look at how the new faces will fit in with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Brian Burke has always argued the fact that July 1st is his draft, the time where he does his best work in bringing in key pieces that will push his team to that next level.  While he isn’t inept on the draft floor, it isn’t his strength.  To his credit, it’s something he doesn’t necessarily hide either.

And while this summer’s free agent frenzy is more calm than in the previous years, there is no doubt that through free agency, and the days leading up to it, that Burke took steps towards continuing to shape this team in his vision.  The moves have been made, and barring any sort of changes, this may well be the team we see enter training camp in under a month.  With that in mind, it’s time for Leafs Nation to ask, exactly how will the new faces fit into place in Toronto?

In part six of his 12 burning questions series, Derek Harmsworth takes a look at Leafs sniper Phil Kessel, and whether he can hit the 40 goal plateau.

While January 31st 2010 will go down as a day Leafs fans will never forget as the Leafs acquired Dion Phaneuf, Keith Aulie, Fredrik Sjostrom, and J.S. Giguere in the span of about two hours, the date of September 18th, 2009 will also be remembered, yet highly debated, and much scrutinized.

It was on that day in September, following a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, that Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke got his man.  After lots of rumours throughout the year, including one that involved Tomas Kaberle going the other way, Burke signed off on a deal with the Boston Bruins that landed him American born sniper Phil Kessel.

In part five of his 12 burning questions series, Derek Harmsworth takes a look at Toronto young guns, and whether or not they can continue their consistent contributions.

A team’s fortunes can be decided on the shoulders of their young players, be it their rookies or their sophomores.  There are plenty of examples of young players who can help their club catch lightning in the bottle, and help them surpass the expectations set earlier in the offseason by the majority of pundits.

Of course for every example of that, there are also counter examples of teams who perhaps relied too heavily on rookies, or second year players, to help pace the offense, only to have things not go according to plans.

In part four of his 12 burning questions series, Derek Harmsworth examines whether Nazem Kadri will crack this lineup, and where he fits in with the team if and when he does.

In the summer of 2009, the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans were still finding out first hand what type of brash, confident attitude Brian Burke was going to be bringing to the team.