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Morning Mashup

Morning Mashup

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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...

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We've got a few more interviews and some actual relevant content coming next week, but it's Friday when I wrote this and Michael has me draining time watching funny fights on YouTube. Until said content is ready and and unless Nonis figures out soon how to lock down Franson and Kadri with less than $6 million in cap space, two-parters about odd Leafs fights is going to have to do. I was saying in the comments of Michael Steven Stephens' post on his five unlikeliest Leaf fights that these were the type of fights I love and hockey needs. In...

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From Conn Smythe’s likely-apocryphal quote, “If you can’t beat ‘em in the alley, you can’t beat ‘em on the ice” to Brian Burke’s tears for Colton Orr, the Toronto Maple Leafs have always encouraged fighting.  There’s not much to report on in Leaf land right now, and instead of lamenting unsigned RFAs and the cap woes, let’s take a look at some of oddest fights in Leaf history. The combatants are unusual, the results often surprising, and most of them leave one thinking fighting has no place in hockey (especially if you can’t fight).  But they’re all still pretty hilarious,...

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How many different ways can you debate the Leafs' remaining cap space? We're working our way toward finding out. While we lose our minds, several Leafs prospects are busy plying their trade against the best junior players in the world.  Yesterday, Canada took on Finland, which featured centerman Frederik Gauthier, winger Ryan Rupert, and defenseman Matt Finn. Dominic Toninato, although having made the first cut of the US Hockey National Junior Eval Camp, did not compete against Sweden. Gauthier, who centered  fellow 2013 1st rounders Hunter Shinkaruk and Anthony Mantha on the 2nd line, had the strongest showing of all the...

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The John Michael Liles buyout watch is officially over, for this year, anyway. Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson are still RFAs, and the Leafs currently have just 4.9M in cap space to retain them both. While many have pointed out that Korbinian Holzer and Trevor Smith are accounted for on the Leafs capgeek roster even though neither figures to make the team, it also has to be said that the Leafs aren’t going to play with a roster holding the bare minimum of 12 forwards and six defensemen all year. Something has to give. There are a few different ways things...

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Alec conducted a terrific interview with Marlies GM and VP of Hockey Operations, Dave Poulin, earlier this week.  While the article that touched on several great topics, Poulin raised the comment of acquiring ‘like-aged’ players to construct a winning team.  He stressed that to build a perennial winner everything must move like clockwork, from the crease womb out. This quote from Alec’s interview jumped out at me: “There’s so many different variables, besides the cap going down nine percent, that go into a final product of a hockey team. The timing has to be incredibly efficient on every single front of...

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As I'm sure you've heard by now, yesterday Mark Fraser came to terms with the Leafs just before his arbitration hearing for a sum of $1.275 million on a one-year contract. From Fraser's standpoint, as he was both arb-eligible and it made sense (here's why it didn't for Cody Franson), filing maximized his leverage as a restricted free agent by not allowing the the club to take all summer to nickel and dime him due to the looming third-party arbitration ruling. Fraser named $2 million as his price, while the Leafs were concerned the settlement would come in half-way between...

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As most of you have probably already heard/seen, Tim Leiweke gave a rather incendiary interview with Bloomberg.  The written version can be found here or feel free to check out the video below: Leiweke on NFL in Toronto, Maple Leafs 'Winning' - "He arrived alone, bringing no staff with him from California. He took a look around. He didn’t like much of what he saw." - Just yesterday, Cathal Kelly from the Toronto Star had the opportunity to interview Tim Leiweke and he echoed many of the points he touched upon in his interview with Bloomberg, including the ones that really polarized Leafs fans.  You...

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An MLHS staffer will be interviewing assistant coach of the Leafs Greg Cronin in the next few days. While we have a lineup of questions already, we'll take the best couple of reader-submitted inquiries and try to work them into the interview as well. Throw yours in the comments. Monday morning links... Dug up by @Steve_Dangle last night on Twitter - Leo Komarov plays the keyboard as Jussi Rynnas sings about him. Two weeks later: The Maple Leafs Michael Trakios of the National Post with an off-season review. The Morgan Rielly conundrum Jim Hughes hinted strongly that there's nothing left to gain in junior...

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The dog days have officially set in. A preseason countdown clock will soon be installed in the sidebar for everyone to stare at. For now, some links for your weekend: 'We're in conversation': Leafs, Kadri continue contract talks Leafs could be in 'dicey' spot with prospect Morgan Rielly Leafs management really seems to think Rielly has nothing left to gain in junior. Maple Leafs' David Bolland remembers well Honda Indy's roar Wendel says Leafs fans will love Clarkson It's already a big enough contract to live up to, these Wendel comparisons aren't doing anybody any good. Mirtle: Wendel Clark comparisons unfair to David Clarkson Well he picked the number 71... I...

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Let's have a moment of silence for Daniel Alfredsson's reputation in Ottawa... As 'sad' as it is to see him go, given all the moves that Ottawa has made and the departure of Alfie, it seems we will be entering a new era in the Battle of Ontario next Fall. The departure of Alfie may partly take away the thrill of attending a Leafs game in Ottawa and showering boos on the home captain, but with the additions of Clarke MacArthur and Bobby Ryan the  provincial battle certainly won't be lacking in storylines. MacArthur was a healthy scratch numerous times under...

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By my estimation, the Leafs have 10 forwards, 4 defencemen and 2 goaltenders (after dropping the expected Marlies-bound players from their capgeek page) signed with about $10.95 million in cap space available. RFAs Nazem Kadri, Cody Franson, Carl Gunnarsson, Mark Fraser and Joe Colborne still left to sign. We'll see if Nonis can finesse the remaining RFAs in under the cap at better deals than he got on Bernier (who, after giving up assets for him in a trade, Nonis must have feared paying even more than 2.9 for through an offer sheet). If we were to be conservative and...

Dave Nonis

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With free agency upon us – and fresh on the heels of Mikhail Grabovski’s buyout – the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to be an incredibly different looking team come the fall.  Through General Manager Dave Nonis’ machinations since taking over the reins in January, the Leafs roster now looks more shallow and vulnerable than it did at the end of the season less than two months ago. Quite simply, Nonis slowly and quietly backed himself into a corner with the choices he’s made since taking over from Brian Burke.  On a team that appeared to over perform benefitting from...