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Morning Mashup

Morning Mashup

Nazem Kadri

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Good morning to all those Leafs fans coming out of their food coma if Thanksgiving dinner was yesterday. To those who are having one today, enjoy! The banged up Leafs squad entertain the Minnesota Wild tomorrow night, but each game that passes brings the team closer to full health. Thanks to some great goaltending from Bernier (I'll overlook the Edmonton game), they've managed a 5-1 record so far. If they can get some bodies back and keep playing well, the team has set themselves up nicely through the first month. As per @HennyTweets on twitter, JVR is not skating at practice...

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Editor's Note: Please welcome Tim Bayer to the MLHS writing staff. Tim contributes at Editor in Leaf and can be followed on Twitter @tj_bayer. He'll be contributing some Sunday mashups for us here at MLHS. Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. How many days during the year are you encouraged to eat food, watch sports and hang out with family and friends all day? As the weather is starting to cool down (although it’s been absolutely beautiful here in Southern Ontario this weekend), the NHL season is just warming up, and Thanksgiving is even more enjoyable when the Leafs...

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Cody Franson has been a lot of things to the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He’s seen more of the pressbox than the entire MLHS writing staff combined.  He’s been top 10 in defensemen scoring.  He’s twice held out on contract demands, only to sign below market value.  But last season saw him change from bench warmer to playoff warrior; and through the first four games of the 2013-14 season he’s looked ready for more. Already in this young season, Franson’s importance to the Leafs defense hasn’t gone unnoticed.  While the sample size is small, Franson is receiving 23:53 in ice time...

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No, winning the first two games of the season does not make the Leafs contenders for the Stanley Cup.  You would think that goes without saying.  Yet apparently the ever-astute media is under the impression that Leafs fans have been overcome with cup delusions, as they have already felt the need to trot out journalistic diarrhea to talk us down from our delirium. But, we crazy Toronto fans are fairly certain that we have a young, developing team with many high-end pieces that suggest the franchise will continue on their upward trajectory in the near future. The Core With the recent...

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After back-to-back wins against Montreal and Philadephia, the Leafs find themselves off to a good start, record-wise, and will be looking forward to two days of much-needed rest before returning to the ACC for the home-opener on Saturday against the Senators. Goaltending Off to an Excellent Start With the back to back to kick off the season, it didn't take long to get a taste of what life would be like with two really good goaltenders.  On Monday, we saw Reimer's characteristic ability to battle in the crease - something we should already be accustomed do, as that's all the guy...

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Thanks to Gus Katsaros for stopping by with a few thoughts on now-Calgary Flame Joe Colborne... Even if you sensed Joe Colborne's time with the Leafs was dwindling after a less than impressive 2013 training camp, it was a little disappointing to see a former 16th overall draft selection - who many Leafs fans were still holding out hope for, and once considered among the organization's top prospects - jettisoned for a 4th round draft pick. Randy Carlyle perhaps put it best: “The way this thing works is the bus only goes by so many times. And you want to be...

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While Phil Kessel told reporters yesterday that no talks have taken place as of yet, assistant general manager Dave Poulin has hinted at the possibility of something developing in the next few days as it relates to a new contract extension for the noted pugilist. This is welcome news for me. There is something disconcerting about a drawn-out, after-season Kessel negotiation. The longer the Leafs leave this means the greater the likelihood something will go wrong, before next thing you know... there goes the neighbourhood. Knowing Kessel doesn't want to negotiate during the season - we don't know for sure...

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Just before the game last night, the league announced that Phil Kessel was suspended for Tuesday's game and the two remaining preseason games against Detroit this weekend for his extra two-handed slash on John Scott. Scott got away with nary a fine. While he violated the main tenet of the unwritten hockey fighting code, and has no real business sharing an ice surface with Phil Kessel to begin with, he didn't technically break any existing rules. In an effort to punish the other side of the fiasco - the team that, between Tropp goading Devane into a fight he never...

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The preseason edition of the Battle of Ontario kicks-off tonight and there is a considerable amount of buzz surrounding both teams. The Leafs and Sens were both very active over the summer and, depending on who you spoke to, became more competitive through their roster moves and acquisitions.  As it stands, the Senators are sort of a fashionable/dark-horse pick to claim the Atlantic Division title.  Although I wouldn't go as far as to call them a favorite, they do have a talented crop of forwards, one of the top-5 defensemen in the league, and a solid goaltending tandem.  Oh,...

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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...

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Now, before you bewail another "advanced stats debate," give this latest article by Anthony Petrielli some time of day. He's given us permission to post some lengthier excerpts before you head over to his general hockey blog to read the rest. Intro: Last week, the National Post published a story centered on the Leafs Jay McClement. In it, McClement referenced some of the stats coaching staffs track and utilize. After pointing it out as an interesting tool, I received some replies that suggested it was basically a useless waste of time. I couldn’t disagree more. As someone who coaches hockey, I...

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The Leafs’ rookies took the tournament opener as a result of their energy, skill, and goaltending. They outpaced a Chicago group that was forced to rely more on physicality to gain ground. They caught the Leafs temporarily, but in the end Toronto came away with a win they probably deserved as Morgan Rielly and Tyler Biggs converted in the shootout to secure a 3-2 Leaf victory. A few meaningful observations may be gleaned from the three-game sample after the weekend, but keep in mind that one sloppy game featuring thrown-together lineups is, well, just one sloppy game featuring thrown-together lineups....

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Hockey is officially back! Well, sort of. Today kicks off the Leafs annual rookie tournament, which is really a great opportunity for the kids in the organization to make an impression. It was only two years ago that Jake Gardiner and Matt Frattin both carried the momentum of strong rookie tournaments through training camp and preseason as both at least somewhat unexpectedly made the team to start the season. This September, players such as Petter Granberg, Andrew MacWilliam and even Morgan Rielly will be trying to do the same. On the whole, the Leafs are dressing a rather experienced team...

Nazem Kadri

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Today, MLHS celebrates reaching the half-decade mark of existence. On this day 5 years ago, MLHS was a newborn blog adorned with a site banner I fashioned in about 5 minutes in MS Paint. To say I didn't expect it to grow into one of the leading Leaf fan communities online, or for it to provide the opportunity to meet so many great people over the past 5 years, or for it to lead to opportunities such as publishing a magazine about the team and becoming acquainted with a few of the team's players and members of management .......

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Friend of site Nazem Kadri laid down a twitter diss yesterday, becoming, if I'm not forgetting something, the first Leaf player to directly call out a member of the Toronto media over Twitter: @DavidAlter590 ur stories r so inaccurate it's actually humorous #badcred— Nazem Kadri (@43_Kadri) August 24, 2013 If you weren't following along yesterday, Nazem wasn't taking exception to Alter's tweet alone. As he alludes to Alter's "stories," his reprisal appears to have been inspired by Alter's piece yesterday about the gulf in the current negotiation between Kadri and the Leafs. Alter reported that Kadri's camp is asking for a...

Dion Phaneuf

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Straight into the links.. Kadri's self belief is stalling negotiations What a facepalm of a title that is from Simmons. Kadri sounding increasingly impatient (The Star) & Contract talks with the Leafs are becoming a distraction for Kadri (TSN) If he'd just quit believing in himself already this could be done. Seriously, everyone should respect Kadri's point that the cap issues are not his concern. Nonis on Phaneuf: "no reason to think he won’t be here for the long run.” After every major insider reported murmurs of Phaneuf being in play, and despite the speculation that Nonis' "no untouchables talk" meant Phaneuf was on the outs,...

Nazem Kadri

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Turning it over to MLHS graphic designer and power user mcloki for this morning: Hello, Gents. It’s Mcloki. Last year, I suggested to Alec and Declan that a consistent look should be developed for the GDT. Foolishly they said yes. Those banners were done in the rush of adrenaline that came with the end of the lockout. The old banners were nice, but they didn’t bring a tradition or regularity to the site. And the Game Day Thread is special. When posted, it announces that it's hockey time in Leaf Land. I want to create something that will be instantly...

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There’s still no movement on either Nazem Kadri or Cody Franson, and training camp is still about a month away, so it’s time for another clip show! The spin-o-rama has become a hallmark move in the NHL, even if it’s not without controversy.  Here’s the 5 best in blue in white at twisting and turning heads.   5. Nazem Kadri is really, really, really skilled.  Like damn skilled. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmmnOoE6u0I We’ll start of this clip show with a real beauty of a goal by Kadri during the 2011-2012 season.  Kadri passes off to Joffrey Lupul in the left wing corner and sneaks through to the...

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Yesterday morning, I encountered a tweet that looked like this: The Case for Brenden Dillon as Next Dallas Stars Captain http://t.co/FtQKcAvIiJ— DefendingBigD (@DefendingBigD) August 14, 2013 So, because it's the off-season, but also because I'm a little lazy, I skipped the article and asked myself the question, who on Earth is Brenden Dillon? And (after several Google searches), why is a 22 year old defenseman, with 49 games worth of NHL experience, considered a suitable candidate for the Dallas Star's captaincy?  This might seem absurd to us but what I realized is that it actually gives us a glimpse of how...

Dave Nonis

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I took a look at Dave Nonis' GM'ing history before the off season started. Since the summer has come to a crawl I thought it would be a good time to look back on it. The first thing that leaps out at me -- and I've been thinking about this for awhile -- is that Nonis was handcuffed due to limited cap space for most of his time in Vancouver. And yet this time around he was gifted cap space, he gave it away, and still has two key cogs to resign. I'm just shocked he's put himself in...