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Coming off an uninspiring performance during a 4-3 road loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday, the Maple Leafs look to rebound tonight with a more energetic effort in Tampa Bay against a struggling Lightning squad.
The Lightning currently sit 13th in the Eastern Conference with 48 points, 5 ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs and 4 out of the 8th and final playoff spot. For the Leafs to get back into the race, a victory tonight, and another Saturday against the Panthers, will be essential.
Back-to-back road games are among the most dreaded portions of the schedule, and the second of 2 games, in 2 nights, in 2 cities, is exactly what the Leafs will have to endure when they visit Atlanta this evening.
Fresh off the heels of a narrower-than-it-should-have-been escape out of Nashville, the Leafs have Ilya Kovalchuk and his dangerous supporting cast to look forward to this evening. Should they go ahead early in this one, the Leafs players will have to exert a much better effort protecting the lead than they did against the Predators.
The good folks over at Pension Plan Puppets have launched a unique initiative, whereby you can help raise funds for the people of Haiti simply by contributing your comments.
PPP will be donating, to the Red Cross, 6 cents for each comment received on their in-game threads.Â You may also donate your own money directly, or, if you have already donated to the Red Cross, notify PPP to be added to their List Of Heroes.
Further details about this awesome initiative are posted here.
Enjoy the game tonight (preview here), hope to see a few of you on the in-game threads over at PPP!
The Toronto Maple Leafs, spiralling of late with a 2-7-1 record in their past 10 games, will to right the ship at home tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers.Â Â The Leafs will also be looking for revenge in this matchup, having been on the receiving end of a 6-2 thrashing at the hands of the Flyers only a week ago.
Per the Toronto Star, it appears as though Tyler Bozak may be the latest player to get a shot at centring the Maple Leafs’ top line alongside Phil Kessel and Nik Kulemin, beginning tonight against Carolina. Â Â With Kessel having recorded only 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 12 games, the Leafs are desperately hoping this change may be the tonic required to get their star winger back on track.
Update: confirmed by am640′s Jonas Siegel.
The second half of the season is underway, and the Maple Leafs continue to struggle. Naturally, speculation has begun to shift to what can be done to improve the roster, and which buyers on the market may have interest in what the Leafs have to offer.
With the World Junior Championship gold medal game taking centre stage tonight (7:30pm, TSN), Leafs’ fans can be forgiven for overlooking tonight’s matchup against an inconsistent Florida Panthers squad (7:00pm, Sportsnet).
Coming off a disastrous mini-road trip out West, featuring losses to the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, the Maple Leafs will look to inject some confidence into their lineup with a victory against the visiting Panthers, who sit only 4 points ahead of the Leafs in the Eastern Conference standings.
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Katrina Cady of Psycho Lady Hockey about an aspect of the game which receives less recognition than perhaps deserved: the fan experience.
Katrina was gracious enough to agree to share her thoughts with the readers of MLHS on a variety topics, including the culture of hockey in traditional and non-traditional markets, the impact of social media in terms of coverage and fan involvement, and of course, your Toronto Maple Leafs.
Despite the many talking heads who continue to suggest that Ian White is not a top-four defender anywhere other than Toronto, a growing number of personalities both in the blogs and the mainstream media are beginning to recognize his value as a hockey player as he continues Â to consistently provide outstanding effort at both ends of the rink.
Although much of the talk has centred around White’s play looking so good because of the lack of talent around him, and that on a deeper team he’d be buried, I say let’s spin that argument on its head. Â The fact that he doesn’t have a ton of talent around him is evidence of just how good a hockey player he is, dare I say one of the more underrated players in the entire league. Â Before you write me off completely as some fanboy lunatic for suggesting that, let’s take a look at the numbers first.
Per Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star:
Jonas Gustavsson’s roller coaster ride through the very early part of his NHL career hit another high Sunday when he was named a backup goalie for Sweden’s entry into the Vancouver Olympics.
Said Gustavsson, upon learning of his selection:
“It’s an honour, it will be my first time at an Olympics … the Olympics are one of the greatest things you can be in.”
Congratulations to the Monster on this great achievement, as he joins a team that many predict will be a lock to reach the final stages of the tournament. Â Sweden versus Canada in the Final could be a definite possibility — imagine that!
Happy Boxing Day, hockey fans!
It’s a great day for hockey here in Leafland. Â The World Junior Championship Tournament, featuring the Leafs’ highly-touted Nazem Kadri, officially gets underway this afternoon as Canada takes on Latvia. Â Following the tournament opener, we are in for a treat Leafs take on their long-standing rival, the Montreal Canadiens. Â And for those who are able to remain awake after all the holiday parties of the past two days, the Edmonton Oilers will visit the Vancouver Canucks in what should be a typical Saturday night Western Conference barn-burner. Â Does it get any better?
Now, onto the Leafs-Habs preview:
Over dinner the other night, a friend asked what it is that made me decide to start writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs, and why it is that the blogs in general tend to be quite positive in their coverage of the team, in the context of the negative attitude of certain members of the professional media toward the team they are paid to cover.
It was a good question, one I had never really thought to ask.
Highly-touted Maple Leafs’ prospect Nazem Kadri has made the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship team.
“London Knights centre Nazem Kadri, selected seventh overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in June, is also on the roster and is expected to be the team’s second-line centre.”
Good to be back! It’s been a little while since I’ve had the opportunity to post anything.
The following are some random thoughts I’ve had of late, including Luke Schenn’s banishment to the press box, the Leafs’ recent winning ways, the status of the trade front, and more.
Phil Kessel is a legitimate star in the city of Toronto. Â Per sporting tradition, he now needs a nickname which is catchy, instantly recognizable, and also describes him as a player.
In the course of chatting with a source earlier in the week, the topic of Phil Kessel’s impact in Toronto naturally arose. Â At which point the source mentioned, “it’s not every day a team can acquire a bonafide star, but the Leafs have found one in Phlair.”
Wait, what? Phlair?
“Yeah,” the source replied, somewhat sheepishly. “I don’t know where [the players] come up with these nicknames, but that’s what they’re calling him.”
It’s been widely reported the past few days that Leafs’ GM Brian Burke is working on at least two trades in an effort to provide a much-needed shakeup to the team.
Sifting through the vast amounts of information, misinformation, and fanboy longing, two teams keep getting repeated over and over … enough to raise at least one speculative eyebrow.
A dreadful 3-11-5 start for the Maple Leafs has everyone asking the same two questions. What the heck happened? And what the heck is the solution?
Despite an encouraging 3-0-4 record in their past 7 games, the Maple Leafs continue to explore ways to improve their roster with an eye to both the current season and the future. Â The following is a rundown of the latest rumours making their way around the campfire in reference to the boys in blue.
This past Saturday, The Fourth Period discussed on their radio segment the possibility of the Toronto Maple Leafs trading Tomas Kaberle at some point this season, if the team’s fortunes do not begin to improve.
The topic itself is not exactly news; talk of Kaberle being moved for some sort of tantalizing return or another has been commonplace in Toronto during the past couple of seasons. What is interesting, however, is the timing. Â Kaberle has been on a statistical tear to begin the year, leading all NHL defensemen with 17 points (2g, 15a) in 12 games. Â Coming off a disasterous 2008-09 campaign, Kaberle is back on the collective radars of several teams who believe a top-flight offensive blue-liner may be the final piece to their puzzle.
I know, I know.Â It’s just one win.
But you have to admit, it still feels good.Â Â Somewhat of a sense of relief is sweeping through Leafs Nation today.Â A sense that, although there is still a long way to go, things are not at a total loss.Â Â This team can find ways to win, and appears to be rounding into the sort of form envisioned by GM Brian Burke during a busy and much-hyped (over-hyped?) offseason.
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