The Leafs took a 3-2 decision in tonight's preseason match on a late scrappy goal by Dave Bolland (he's good at those). There was some injury concerns after Nazem Kadri blocked a shot with one of his patented nifty mittens, but early reports indicate it is just a bruise.
This was a preseason game, so it was far from pretty. Players come into these games with significantly different levels of motivation, skill and rustiness. While many look at skill as the most significant of these qualities, consistent high level success in the NHL necessitates enormous amounts of motivation and effort....
Jesse Blacker and Tyler Biggs will join Marlies training camp after getting released from the Leafs training camp roster today.
Tyler Biggs looked like a non-factor in his preseason game, but Jesse Blacker was pretty good in the preseason opener and I'm a little surprised he isn't going to get another game. Among those on the outside looking in and vying for a spot on the blue line, Korbinian Holzer, Andrew MacWilliam and TJ Brennan remain with the team. Stuart Percy has not yet appeared in a preseason game but also remains on the training camp roster for the time...
The Leafs dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Philadelphia Flyers in a sloppy second game of preseason. Remarkably, Phil Kessel took 6 minutes worth of aggressive stick infractions.
Becoming known for eating up his former team, James van Riemsdyk opened the scoring after cutting off a pass on the left board in the neutral zone. He got in behind the Flyer defenceman and roofed it far side on a goaltender named “Heeter.”
Answering for the other side of the transaction, Luke Schenn tied the game at 1s with seconds remaining in the first frame. Mark Fraser awkwardly tried to block...
The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre this evening in the second game of a preseason back-to-back. They won the 1st game in London, 4-3.
The Flyers are splitting their team in half and are playing two exhibition games on the same day, with one game in Toronto against the Maple Leafs and another at home against the Capitals. That's unusual, and will likely benefit Toronto as they are dressing their full first line, Clarkson, Bernier, Kulemin, and will have some additional speed and offensive ability on the backend with Rielly and Gardiner in...
The Leafs kicked off preseason with a 4-3 win over the Flyers.
Of course, you shouldn't read too far into game one of the preseason with only three or four regulars playing for the Leafs, but it is fun to get a look at the likes of Gauthier, Rielly, Leivo and other youth playing all situations hockey at a higher level.
This was more of a rookie tournament lineup than it was an NHL lineup. Among the clear cut NHLers, Kadri (who always wants to put on a show, especially in his hometown), Raymond and Ranger were motivated to make an...
Thanks to Tony Ambrogio aka tips for telling me today's 10 a.m. practice was at 9 a.m. All good, he was there at the same time and we were both confused.
The first and only person in the arena when I entered was The Sheriff. Colton Orr was working on his shot on the "Rapid Fire" pad at the far end of the MCC. I walked over to observe, but received a death glare from him and decided to retreat. Smart move, in my opinion. And you guys call me dumb.
The Leafs invited Season Ticket...
As we filed into the arena today, it was mentioned that Lupul would be out again (back spasms) and that Phil Kessel would be returning home for a funeral for the passing of his Grandfather. Other absentees were Matt Finn and Colton Orr (leg bruise, one week).
I was standing solo and Paul Hendrick came over to me saying, "I hear that you wrote nice things about me yesterday in your article… thanks Corey." We shared some laughs, mostly at my expense, and he carried on. Right after he left, Jonas Siegel stopped for a chat...
As training camps opened this week, the last of the RFAs have begun to re-sign with their clubs. Most notably, Leaf phenom Nazem Kadri signed a two year pact that will pay him $2.9-million per season. A hundred or so miles down the road, the Buffalo Sabres locked up their star RFA centre Cody Hodgson to a six-year deal at $4.25-million per year.
Last season, Kadri had a stellar 44 points in 48 games; Hodgson had a good but not great 34 in 48 games. For their careers, Kadri has a .636 points per game average (63 points in 99...
It was fun to be back at the arena again to see all of the familiar faces and some of the new ones. The Leafs were split into two teams/practice squads (Team A and Team B, very creative) that took over the ice on the Leafs rink and the Marlies rink.
It is a big task to try and watch any given player due to the sheer number (59 individuals at camp) of skaters, but I tried my best. I wanted to focus on the newest additions and the ones who were trying to make the team.
The practice started with...
An interesting development in the Cody Franson contract talks today, one that seems to explain the reported desire from Franson's camp to sign a one-year contract for the second summer in a row. Darren Dreger is reporting that the Leafs are not willing to give Franson the one-year contract he's asking for as the negotiations sit idle with camp underway.
If Dreger's information is accurate, this is an interesting case where the Leafs appear to actually want to bridge a player to unrestricted free agency rather than renegotiate with him as an RFA in an off-season where the team has...
Training camp opens today (physicals/media day), and one half of the dark cloud lurking over this awesome time of year in Leafland has been cleared up and squared away.
I can only see one potential "but" in yesterday's good-value Kadri contract. An Adam Henrique or James van Riemsdyk contract (long term at a little over $4 million) might be the type of contract we wish we snagged Nazem on down the road. There's no knowing if Kadri would be amenable to locking himself in long term at that low of a figure, however, and in the short term, with the...
No surprises, unless inviting pretty much every member of the organization plus the rookie camp invitees and Mason Raymond is a surprise. Among the undrafted and unsigned are Matt Rupert, Zachary Yuen, Trevor Murphy and Kevin Raine. Raymond is the lone attendee on a PTO.
Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson are on the roster, of course, but will likely not attend tomorrow unless something changes with their contract situations. The players will do their physicals and meet with the media tomorrow before their first on-ice sessions on Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Mastercard Centre.
I've become known as a bit of a Kadri sympathizer in comment section debates on the Nazem Kadri contract negotiation. I'll make this clear: I do not blame Dave Nonis and Claude Loiselle for the essence of what they're trying to accomplish with the negotiation. Kadri's situation is far from unique when it comes to high profile RFAs, both past (see below) and present (Stepan, Pietrangelo).
What bothers me is the media offensive against Kadri via various insiders and one in particular. It has been the player who so many fans have been quick to jump on and advise to "shut...
The Leafs wrapped up what was a pretty good weekend by imploding in the third period and losing handily, but that doesn’t take away from some of the positives that were shown overall.
There were some youngsters who had good weekends, others who had very good weekends, and a few who struggled. In other news, the Leafs also have a new player coming to training camp in Mason Raymond.
You know hockey is back when there are actual relevant games and players to talk about all of a sudden. Here are some scattered thoughts on the weekend that was:
A testament both to a sinking cap ceiling and a fall in the player's stock, former 25 goal scorer in 2009-10 Mason Raymond went without a contract offer this summer (or at least, he went without one he was willing to sign). The GM who drafted him in the second round in 2005 (Nonis) has invited him to Leafs training camp on a Professional Tryout Agreement.
What we know Raymond can bring is speed, in spades. He's an elite skater. I know this just from catching a few West Coast HNIC broadcasts and from playing the EA Sports NHL franchise...
Update: More reports of exorbitant long term contract demands from Kadri have been denied by Nazem himself on Twitter. Just as David Alter did, Bob McKenzie stuck by his source and replied by asking Naz to clear the air with some specifics on his contract demands.
Some will say the whole thing could have been avoided and that with better cap management Kadri would be under contract by now; others will read the reports far too literally and decry Kadri's ludicrous demands as indicative of a need for an attitude adjustment. I'll just say it would be an odd and...
Headlined by first round draft selections Tyler Biggs (2011), Stuart Percy (2011), Morgan Rielly (2012) and Frederik Gauthier (2013), the Maple Leafs' 2013 prospect tourney roster features one member from the 2008 (Andrew MacWilliam) and 2009 (Jamie Devane) draft classes and then four prospects from each subsequent draft class since 2010.
Representing the 2010 class are Carrick, McKegg, Ross, Granberg; the 2011 representatives include Biggs, Percy, Broll and Leivo; Rupert, Rielly, Brown and Finn are the 2012 draftees who are participating; New Leafs Antoine Bibeau, Fabrice Herzog, Carter Verhaeghe and Frederik Gauthier are the four prospects involved from the recent 2013...
Awesome news as we filtered into the MCC this morning: the Blue vs. White Scrimmage is on!
I got in early with a very nice welcome from Security Personnel. The security lady said to me, "seems like we never left.." excellent, I thought, she remembers me! Saw Henny and the usual cast of media personalities. I think I am fitting in.
The Blue and White took the ice with Dallas Eakins coaching the team in Blue. Great first period with Nazem Kadri making a fantastic statement by scoring three goals early. He was in the right spot at the right time...
MLHS rinkside reporter canucksnaphook with your Tuesday report from Leafs camp.
Tuesday's Practice Lines:
Day 3 started off with a strong energy level in the building with the Leafs getting lots of cheers when they finally took the ice today.
Coach Carlyle stated that they were tired physically and mentally which led to a bunch of sloppy drills and unacceptable offside plays.
Early on in the practice JVR took a shot off the foot from Komisarek. JVR attempted to finish the shift but was in considerable pain and eventually left the ice. Apparently Colton Orr is injured with a dislocated finger. Only in...
Canucksnaphook, aka MLHS' Jonas Siegel, was on the scene today at Leafs practice and has notes, pictures and a little video for you lucky sons'a'guns after the jump.
Monday's practice lines:
Lupul - Bozak - Kessel
MacArthur - Kadri - Kulemin
Connolly - Grabovski - JVR
McClement - Hamilton - Brown
Komarov - Lombardi - Frattin
Orr - Steckel - Aucoin
A few notes:
Forward Standouts: Kulemin, Lupul
Defensive Standouts: Kostka, Rielly (Dion always practices well, and Gunnar you don't notice but nobody will ever complain about, either).
Forwards that were mediocre: Kessel (again being one of the last skaters in each skating session between drills).
Defense that were mediocre: Komisarek,...