Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Authors Posts by Garrett Bauman

Garrett Bauman


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    … they didn’t give up the fight.

    Maple Leafs’ fans should be very pleased with the effort displayed in last night’s 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.   Although another loss is disappointing on the surface, there is much to feel good about in regard to the team’s play following a week’s break.  It is not often that one can look at a loss as a game to instill confidence; however, last night’s game should serve to do exactly that, among both players and fans alike.

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      There’s nothing like an 0-6-1 start to push the rumour mill into full swing.     The following is a quick rundown of some of the talk working its way through the grapevine.

      As always, this is only talk — as in, players rumoured to be under consideration, not deals that are on the brink of consummation.  Take it for what it is.

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        Five games in, no wins, and few positives within the play to indicate a turnaround is coming soon.

        Something has to be done to shake up this roster.   Some sort of move needs to be made, that much is clear.

        The question is, what?

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          0-2-1 after 3 games, and the sky is falling.   Or so chicken little would have you believe, anyway.

          3 games in and panic?   Seriously?   You’d think the Leafs just traded away a handful of high picks for a relatively-unknown goaltender with an injury history.   Wait, scratch that — they did that a couple years ago and as I recall the move was far more heralded than denounced, at the time.

          Which is exactly my point:  you can’t know, early on, exactly how things will turn out.

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            Given the early-season struggles of incumbent starting netminder Vesa Toskala, speculation is mounting that Jonas Gustavsson could receive his first NHL start as early as Tuesday night when the Leafs face their Ontario rivals, the Ottawa Senators.

            Early speculation is Toskala may not be all the way back, mentally or physically, from the groin and hip surgeries he endured last season. While it is obviously far too early to annoint Gustavsson the starter for the rest of the season (he has yet to play a full game in the NHL), it is not unreasonable to expect that in the wake of Toskala’s struggles he could receive an extended look, in the form of more early-season starts than were initially planned.

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              The Toronto Maple Leafs have sent forwards Jiri Tlusty, Nik Kulemin, and Tyler Bozak, as well as defender Carl Gunnarsson, to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

              These moves leave the team with a 22-man roster, one under the season-opening limit of 23.    That number does not include either of Phil Kessel or Mike Van Ryn, as both will start the season listed as injured non-roster players.

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                Per Kevin McGran at the Toronto Star:

                On a day a former Maple Leafs captain formally announced his retirement, coach Ron Wilson said the team would again start the season captainless.

                Newcomers Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin however will join Tomas Kaberle as three alternate captains.

                McGran notes that Wilson suggested the captaincy issue would be revisited in roughly a month’s time from now, at which point the coach will consider whether one of his three assistants should be given the role or whether the team should remain captainless for another season.

                Read the full article from The Star

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                Maple Leaf Gardens

                Maple Leaf GardensDuring the 1980s, years before cellphones and the Internet would make hockey news and highlights easily accessible to all, when newspapers and shows such as Sportsline would provide the fans their worth of NHL news, for many the only Maple Leafs action they would see would come via Hockey Night in Canada on CBC, or MolStar Communications during the week.

                Living in a rural area with no cable access, a couple hours away from Toronto, the majority of my own fandom as a youth was experienced via the grainy picture of antenna television.   My family didn’t have a lot of money, which meant that attending actual live games was a rare event.   Which, in retrospect, made the event all the more special of an experience.

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                  From the ‘Not Particularly A Shock’ files …

                  Per the Toronto Star,  Nazem Kadri has been returned to the London Knights of the OHL.

                  This move should not really come as any surprise; as an offensive player Kadri would require top-six forward line minutes in order to most effectively impact his development.   And the fact of the matter is, those minutes simply aren’t going to be there, not with Grabovski, Stajan, Ponikarovski, Blake, and Hagman holding down five of those spots, and with Bozak, Stalberg and Stempniak all fighting for the sixth.

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                    Talking to sources this evening, I’ve managed to partially reconstruct — there is obviously much more to it than what is posted here — how the trade for Phil Kessel ultimately came about, and the origin of many of the rumours that circulated prior to the deal finally going down.

                    The Bruins wanted at least one player in a deal, but no suitable player-based deal could ultimately be found with any of Nashville, New York, or Toronto.   At the end of the day, Bruins’ GM Peter Chiarelli opted to accept a package of picks that was originally offered by the Leafs nearly a full week before the deal was finally consummated.

                    Here’s how it is said to have happened.

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                      In the final game of the rookie tournament, the Leafs’ rookies were beaten soundly — to the tune of 7-1 — by their Ontario rivals, the Ottawa Senators.

                      Although I was not able to attend this game in person, fellow Leafs die-harder ‘Bell’ was in attendance for all of the games and has kindly provided some thoughts about the action (or was it inaction?) at the Aud last night, and the tournament as a whole.

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                        Wednesday night’s tilt between the Maple Leafs and Penguins was by far the sloppiest game the Leafs have played thus far, with a 4-1 Pittsburgh victory the end result.

                        Simply put, the players looked as though they lacked energy from the outset.   Was it fatigue from the toll of three games in four days?   Or was it simply a poor outing, as is prone to happen to all teams, from time to time?   The answer to that may lie in Thursday evening’s game against the Senators.

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                          The Toronto Maple Leafs’ rookies, in a very entertaining game this afternoon, lost 6-5 in overtime to the rookies of the Boston Bruins.

                          The game was fast-paced, hard-hitting, and featured three fights on three consecutive plays (literally within seconds of the faceoff each time).    The good news?   Jamie Devane looks like a legitimate enforcer and a presence to be feared.   The bad news?   His right hand didn’t look so good after the fight (had the icebag brought to him in the penalty box) and he wound up leaving the game shortly thereafter with the hand bandaged up.    No word yet on how serious an injury it is.

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                            I won’t go into a lot of detail about the game itself, as Alec covered that quite well.

                            The news, for the most part, was good.   Many of the Leafs’ prospects were impressive in their bids to earn a spot on the big club and/or the Marlies.   The following is a quick summation of some of the things that stood out to me from my vantage point at the game.

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                              Leafs-related news has slowed to a crawl during the final weeks of the offseason, and this year’s summer movie scene has been rather unspectacular.   I propose a cure for both maladies:  a hockey movie to fill the void of a puck-deprived offseason, complete with all the excitement of a sports flick and all the truculence of an action blockbuster.

                              And so, without further ado, here is the game-day casting call for your 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs.

                              A tip o’ the hat to Don over at Mondesi’s House for the inspiration.

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                                Every season, teams have at least one player who emerges with a seemingly unexpected season.   This is often witnessed in the form of a surge in offense, a dramatic increase in ice time, or a goaltender excelling in key areas such as save percentage and shutouts.

                                Who will rise to the occasion this season, and surprise us all with a season beyond our expectations?

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                                  To date, it has been a rather busy offseason for the Toronto Maple Leafs, with a number of free agent signings, roster re-signings, a few trades and even some coaching changes.

                                  The following is a chronological listing of Maple Leafs’ transactions during the 2009 offseason.

                                  Note: this list will continue to be updated with any further transactions made prior to the start of the 2009-10 regular season.

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                                    There is a lot going on  around the league these days.    Rumours about Kaberle and potential deals abound, a Kessel signing is no longer imminent, Heatley is still a Senator, and the NHL remains hot over the Hossa contract.  Oh, and did I mention the league still has a bounty on the head of Jim Balsillie?

                                    All of these stories have been playing out for months now, and none appear headed toward a resolution prior to the start of the new season.    It is safe to assume that despite the vast quantity of reporting devoted to these stories throughout the offseason, each will continue to dominate the headlines on days where the box scores do not.