2011-12 Season

2011-12 Season

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When Colby Armstrong looks back on his career in Toronto, there’s a good chance he’ll remark that is was a pain.  How else can one describe the rash of injuries that has befallen the rugged right winger since coming to Toronto?  Since signing a 3 year, $9 Million dollar contract in the summer of 2010, he has skated in 59 games while he’s sat in the press box with casts, bandages and eye patches for a total of 56 games.  So lets take a quick look at the trials and tribulations of the oft falling Leaf. Prior to his tenure...

881

Last season saw Nikolai Kulemin reach new heights. His 30 goals, beyond being a career high at the NHL level, placed him in some elite company for the Maple Leafs. In the past 10 seasons, only Phil Kessel, Mats Sundin, Alexander Mogilny and Kulemin have managed to tally 30+ goals in a single season. In August, our own prognosticators pegged the Magnitogorsk native to lead the club in scoring, building upon last year’s heroics.  But with his play of late, he might not even hit 10 goals this season. So what’s the deal? His current goal scoring slump has now...

816

It's been no secret to a lot of Leafs followers, and hockey fans in general, that with a changing NHL comes a change in the way hockey teams will be structured going forward. Structured, built, laid out, however you want to put it, the makeup of a roster these days probably looks quite different than it did even five years ago. Of course the game has always had stars and superstars. Even the worst teams have had at least some talent sprinkled  through their top two lines.  Where the line was drawn, for a lot of clubs, was when the...

336

There is no understating the importance of tonight’s game at all.  With a win tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be in a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with 32 points.  Riding a three game winning streak, the Leafs have gone from looking like pretenders to the real deal in the East, giving them a possible seven-point cushion on ninth place if they can pull off a victory.  It’s just a shame that they have to go up against the defending Cup Champions, the Boston Bruins, who look to be in post season form.  The Beantowners will...

943

Your Toronto Maple Leafs needed a win in the worst kind of way last night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Responding with a blow out 7 – 1 win (their second in three games), the franchise seems poised to gain ground again in the Eastern Conference. While incredible, their 7 – 1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Saturday masked the fact that the club had struggled mightily to find consistency and dominate the opposition since the turn of the month.  Through November, the team has done as well as Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul have let them, and one...

562

So the Leafs have goalie issues, who'd a thunk it? The truth is, everyone and their grandmother knew Toronto was in goaltending trouble this summer because simply put, they went into the season without one single goalie in their organization who had established himself at the NHL level. Potential is great, prospects are great, but the NHL is about results. Don't let an excellent game fool you, the Leafs are far from being out of the woods when it comes to their goalie dilemmas and unless Scrivens goes on a Reimer-esque run now (yeah, I said it), then the Leafs are going...

637

In what's been a dream season so far for the Maple Leafs, defenceman Luke Schenn is currently going through the most nightmare-ish period of his career, performance-wise. Though, it's tough to notice his poor play, since he's barely on the ice. What you're about to read may be offensive to some. Viewer discretion is advised. Luke Schenn had the least amount of ice time for the entire Leafs squad during the win against the Devils on Wednesday night. 10:01, that was his total. Ten minutes and one second. Dupuis was second-to-last with 10:38 on ice. You know, Phillipe Dupuis, that guy...

570

There’s a lot going on in Leaf land this Wednesday morning, so lets take a look at what’s making news and look back a little at the month that was.  Your Toronto Maple Leafs will take on the New Jersey devils tonight, hoping to rebound from Sunday’s loss to the Ottawa Senators.  The Leafs will sport a new line up due to injuries, demotions and call ups, and because the only constant is change.  It’s been a promising sign that in spite of the numerous roster changes, the wins have been frequent and most games have been very close....

668

The Toronto Maple Leafs have leapt from the gate.  With 10% of the season in the books, the Leafs are 3rd in the conference, and 6th overall in total goals scored.  They are the best Canadian team.  They are unbeaten in regulation at home.  Going into Tuesday night’s games, the Leafs boast the highest scoring forward and defenseman in the league.  All this while icing one of the youngest teams in the league, one whose forward corps has been decimated by injuries in the early going. Despite the plethora of positive stat lines, the data can be equally damning.  They...

636

From Pierre Lebrun at ESPN/TSN: ” I heard from sources on other teams Monday that Gauthier was phoning around looking for help on defense. The thing is, he’s not alone. Tampa and the New York Rangers are among the other teams also looking for blue-line help. It just so happens that Cody Franson is available in Toronto, although I’m not sure whether any of those three teams have interest in him.” This isn't exactly surprising news. Franson really hasn't panned out the way most expected, and though it's early, he's probably better off leaving town for...

379

Following the unexpected success of the 1992-93 campaign, which saw the Maple Leafs take a 44-29-11 season to the Conference Finals, the stakes were high entering the 1993-94 season.  Could the Leafs prove that history was indeed behind them, and the previous season's success was not a fluke as some critics were wont to suggest? Jaded by the disaster that was the decade of the 1980s, one could hardly blame the skeptics for questioning everything from scoring depth to injury concerns to whether goaltender Felix Potvin was a flash-in-the-pan or the real deal.  After all, hopes had been raised, only...

159

Putting their unbeaten record in regulation on the line in tonight’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking for offense from new sources. Owners of a 2/21 powerplay, and with just 7 of their 13 goals coming from someone not wearing the #81, its become clear that the Leafs’ early successes have been more the work of a one man magic act than 4 line team play.  If this sounds familiar, its because last year’s hot start was predicated on the dazzling offensive production from the aforementioned Phil Kessel and Clarke MacArthur.  But after an...

914

There was a lot of trepidation going into the Toronto Maple Leafs' season opener against the Montreal Canadiens, to be sure. Interviews with Brian Burke - featuring sometimes snippy comments and a seemingly reduced air of confidence - have started to show a dent in his armour. Between having to answer questions about his inability to secure a true #1 centerman, the job security of his friend and colleague, Ron Wilson, or the investment of faith in what could be a one-year wonder in net with James Reimer, it's certain to have had its effect on him. Ron Wilson is sure to...

388

Leave it to the Toronto Maple Leafs to have more roster questions heading into the regular season than heading into camp.  Suspensions, injuries and trades have forced more confusion as to who fits where in the forward corps.  Wednesday afternoon, reports came in from Leafs practice of Wilson’s impromptu line combinations heading into tonight’s home opener against the Montreal Canadiens.  While it seemed to answer a few questions, the current status of the Leafs roster longer term remains up in the air. The programme editing department at the ACC must be a comedy of errors heading into tonight’s first tilt,...

729

So, the Leafs have improved to 3 - 3 in preseason with last night’s victory over the Senators.  Making it all the more memorable was the fact that this Leafs squad managed to rally back after being down two goals in the first.  While the points mean nothing, and the record of the Leafs preseason will be forgotten from collective consciousness by game 2 of the regular season, the story lines of the Leafs season are already taking shape.  Ron Wilson will be on the hot seat this coming season, his 4th attempt as the Buds bench boss to...

Doug Gilmour and Pat Burns at the 1992-93 NHL Awards

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The early '90s were an incredible time to be a Toronto sports fan. The Blue Jays captured back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993, while the Maple Leafs, in those same years, traversed the road back to respectability following the tumultuous (and largely disastrous) Harold Ballard era. Following successive seasons of seemingly-endless roster turnover (the 1991-92 Leafs closed out the year with only 4 members remaining from the 1989-90 squad) and less-than-stellar results, Leafs' GM Cliff Fletcher felt he had finally established the right mix of youth and veteran experience to produce a legitimate contender. In fact, during the 1992 offseason,...

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Part 1 can be found here. Notes on Day 2 of training camp: I didn't watch any of the drills and instead took in more of the scrimmages today. Here are the notes for the second day of training camp: Colborne has put on some weight weight and additions in strength have improved puck protection as well as more resilience to being knocked off the puck .. put puck carrying skills on display, with uncanny connection to it .. quicker and more confident .. rushes defensemen into making hurried plays/decisions with calculated pressure .. played alongside Frattin and MacArthur as a line after...

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Training camp is set up with a scrimmage in one rink and drills going on in the other rink. The notes are about the scrimmages. Camp was split into three squads. The notes below are observations from the scrimmages. There were some notable lines including: Lupul – Connolly – Kessel Kulemin – Grabovski – Macarthur Kadri – Bozak – Armostrong Liles – Schenn Franson – Komisarek Crabb – Colborne – Frattin – a likely scoring unit at the Ricoh Coliseum if Frattin is assigned to the Marlies. NOTES Might as well start calling him Cautious Connolly, who seemed somewhat conservative that forced him to the edges of the...

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Toronto Maple Leafs training camp opens today, with an enormous player base of 70 invitees. Some are guaranteed spots, some are looking to secure one. All of them want to make a positive impression. Here are some thoughts on the camp outlook. At forward, Tim Connolly, Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin, Clarke MacArthur and Colby Armstrong are guaranteed spots on the roster. For Lupul, training camp and the preseason this year is an opportunity to show coach Ron Wilson that he has what it takes to be a first line forward. If he fails in doing that,...

320

Camp is around the corner, the Leafs are playing golf, and like many of us, Ron Wilson is projecting line combos already. The Leafs head coach voiced to the media on Tuesday that right now he envisions a lineup with Lupul - Connolly - Kessel, MacArthur - Grabovski - Kulemin, and Kadri - Bozak - Armstrong going into the season. Of course this is preliminary, but it's good news for Leafs fans nonetheless, and even more so for Nazem Kadri, who looks to finally become a National Hockey League mainstay. Competition for Kadri's wing position will likely come by way of...