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I used up all my lockout glee in yesterday's post (feel free to read it here) so here's a collection of links around the interwebs covering the one on and only topic that matters today, the return of the NHL. The 7 most immediate questions now that NHL lockout is over Sean Leahy takes a look at what to watch for as hockey gets underway. Of course Luongo rumours make an appearance on the list. The NHL returns; looking at the Maple Leaf roster—tweaks, predictions and player ratings Part I: Today, the back end Michael begins previewing and dissecting the Leafs roster. On...

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First off, let us all bow our heads and remember Bill Daly this morning, who died on a hill December 27th, 2012, fighting valiantly for the five-year contract limit. So, the league budged a little on the contract limit (5 to 6 years for UFA signings) and salary variance (5 to 10%) components of their Thursday offer that was revealed yesterday, while leaving the makewhole payment where it was at $300 million. A good thing that the NHL's latest offer took a day to leak? Maybe. Brian Lawton seemed to think so. But absolutely do no get excited unless the counter...

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Bill Daly did a few interviews Wednesday, including one with HNIC Radio. And he said some stuff that everyone's takling about, including TSN, which is where I pulled the following quote from. Because, y'know, transcribing it myself would take an extra twenty seconds of effort that I just can't muster right now. Mainly due to spite laziness. When asked: "Yes or no, do we have a season?", his answer was clear. "Yes," said Daly. Daly expanded on his comments on TSN Radio 1290 Winnipeg's Hustler and Lawless show later in the day. "I tend to be more optimistic than some of the people...

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There isn't a lot to talk about this morning, as things on the NHL front have gone pretty silent. Other than that we're (for the most part) looking forward to the World Junior Championships next week to get a look at some Leafs' prospects on the international stage. There's also, you know, the chance to cheer on a hockey team, which will be a nice experience as well. Though I'm not sure I even remember how to do it. The schedule for this year's tournament is pretty awful for us watching in Canada. Morgan Rielly and the rest of our national...

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Long since dead and buried is any hockey fan holding their breath after every sign of optimism throughout the last 12 weeks of off-and-on negotiations. Cautious optimism isn't a new development, but it's up to you to determine if it has a different feel to it this time around. One of the Fehrs and Bill Daly standing side by side talking progress certainly is a first. What Daly and Fehr said yesterday wasn't anything particularly groundbreaking, but there they were standing beside each other sharing in one another's semi-optimism. Daly thanked the sizeable group of negotiating players for putting in...

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So they're meeting tomorrow but with different people this time screw it, here's some links: NHL owners and players to meet Tuesday in NY Larry Tanenbaum will be among those attending tomorrow's players-owners meeting. Unfortunately, so will Jeremy Jacobs (what an asshole). Nugent-Hopkins is in for the WJC, if healthy Even more than usual, this tournament will get way too much attention in Canada, but who can blame us? And Morgan Rielly will be there for Leafs fans to ogle over. Too bad about the getting up early stuff. The Marlies bounce back with three wins in three nights Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin and...

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Rather than more pointless lockout talk, I thought I’d look back at the Friday Night game between the Moose Jaw Warriors and the Edmonton Oil Kings. There are a few things that stood out and are worth pointing out about Rielly’s performance last Friday. The first forty minutes were some of the most conservative I’ve seen Rielly play. He was reluctant to pinch or join rushes, and was constantly looking out for Oil Kings sneaking through the neutral zone. Of course I wouldn’t say this is a bad trait, but this isn’t the true selling point of what Rielly brings to...

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Go Jays. Is it April yet? Ugh. Watching this lockout trudge along through a seemingly insane number of days of "still happening" may have literally ripped all the ability to feel optimism out of my mind. LOUD: "THEY'RE MEETING TODAY!" Quieter: "They met." Really quiet: "...it did not go well." That's every day of an NHL fans' life right now. Well, not every day. Just the days the two sides decide to spend uselessly in the same building. The sad fact is, this Wednesday shouldn't have been useless. The PA seemingly made very real concessions in what was considered a constructive...

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So we had three Marlies game this weekend, two televised Morgan Rielly Super Series games heading into the weekend and a Biggs multi-goal game as well. By midday Monday I'm sure all the talk will have shifted back to the CBA and the potential for talks. There was some brief optimism after it was reported that Ed Snider might be distancing himself from the owner's stance. "Behind the scenes, there seems to be a seismic shift going on among the NHL's Board of Governors, also known as the group that Bettman answers to collectively. And Flyers chairman Ed Snider may be the...

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That horsecrap title's a reference to the first computer game I ever owned, Silent Steel. It was terrible, and I was enthralled by it. Dubbed an "interactive movie", it was literally a Choose Your Own Adventure that used filmed segments instead of a cheap little paperback book to tell its story and have you make decisions which guided the plot. The Wikipedia entry literally describes it as "an unorthodox submarine simulator computer game." What's an orthodox submarine simulator computer game? Anyways, it's a meaningless pun because this meaningless lockout is still ongoing, and nothing is happening, and your Thursday Morning...

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The lockout doesn’t matter today. For that matter, neither does a Marlies sweep of Texas, or another weekend full of strong performances by Leafs prospects. I couldn't care less about any of it today and that’s because the Leaf who is statistically the greatest of all time is entering the Hall of Fame today. First ballot, too, I might add. Despite the confession from the man himself that he was a Habs fan growing up, I can’t be deterred from honouring his greatness. Also, who can blame him for not being a fan of the 80’s Leafs? That’s almost as bad...

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The easiest Morning Mashups to write are the ones where there's nothing to talk about. The toughest Morning Mashups to write are the ones where there's nothing to talk about. I'm literally writing this as Wednesday's CBA meetings are ending (according to the Dan Rosen Tweet that just rolled in). They will meet again tomorrow, it's been confirmed, and likely with the same modus operandi of not talking to anyone when they're over. I guess we're supposed to be impressed by this. Really? I mean, the way negotiations are happening now is the way they should have been happening in July. But...

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There might have been a little somethin' somethin' crowding your Twitter feed last night, forcing you to miss the updates (or lack thereof.. in this case, possibly a good thing) from the latest round of NHL/NHLPA meetings. No word about what went down, but the negotiating session lasted seven hours and ended with plans to resume talks today (Wednesday). Considering the last meeting between the two sides took about 10 minutes and preceded two weeks of stalemate, this seems to be a good sign. They're talking at length, and a process that's been riddled with posturing has broken for some...

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It looks like the NHL and Players Association are ready to resume talks this week (most likely Tuesday), and now we can briefly have hope again. Certainly, a marathon talk between Bill Daly and Steve Fehr is a good start, and it gives even more reason for optimism that nothing was leaked from this meeting. Where I lose some of my optimism is in a) the fact that this deal will rely on Jeremy Jacobs' ability to compromise, and b) we live in a world where players value the opinion of clowns like Allan Walsh. Neither side is content to reach the...

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Not really. I severely mismanaged my Wednesday night schedule, so your preview consists of: the Marlies play tonight. Against the Abbotsford Heat. At 10:00pm. Toronto's 3-2-0-1 in 6 games, and Keith Aucoin leads the team with 6 points! So, uh...here are some links: -The Winter Classic will likely be cancelled on Friday. Because...you know "the stuff dreams are made of?" It's actually that black slime Mulder and Scully spent 9 years chasing, and it lives behind Gary Bettman's eyes. -Shoalts, via the Globe, thinks the league cancelling the WC would be the NHL shooting itself in the foot. Kind of small potatoes....

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This isn't the image you want to tweet during a time of lockout, Tyler Bozak. Wednesday Morning Links... Joffrey Lupul is KHL-bound Lance Hornby confirms the earlier reports about Lupul's Euro destination and adds that Clarke MacArthur is now over in Germany getting started with a division two team. Leafs Prospect Carter Ashton finding his rhythm (Toronto Sun) Are you a one-team NHL fan? Michael Langlois at VLM asks Leafs fans the question. That's a big "unfortunately" for me, Mike. More on Bozak Thomas Drance offers a less than forgiving perspective on the Bozak thing. Tyler Biggs: In General Gus Katsaros with a look at the Leafs' top pick...

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On a week (possibly day) when the NHL is likely to cancel the Winter Classic - the most significant game the Leafs would have played in almost a decade - it seems like a great opportunity to look at the inches both sides are fighting for. The latest player to speak out, surprisingly directed at a team owner rather than the league, was Ryan Suter (in an ESPN.com article): “It's disappointing. If you can't afford to (sign contracts) then you shouldn't do it. (Owner Craig Leipold) signed us to contracts. At the time he said everything was fine. Yeah, it's disappointing....

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Remember when Nazem Kadri showed up to the Marlies' training camp negligibly fatter than he probably should have been all fat and ugly and gross and out-of-shape? Well, Dallas Eakins threw a big, cheesy CTRL-Z on that situation Wednesday. Apparently Kadri's re-committed himself to hardcore fitness in the last few weeks. (While some simmer in silence, wondering what the hell he paid Gary Roberts for). Dallas is impressed. Said Eakins, with a visual I metaphor did not need: "He has not just dipped his toe in the water, he's taken off his clothes and jumped in naked. He is fully ready...

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Strapped for a mashup topic this morning, I was reading the latest doomsday talk from last night and thought it might be worthwhile to highlight a post from late last week courtesy of mc79 hockey (in case you missed it). If, like me, you're one of the poor souls trying to make sense of the countless 800-word articles containing the latest BS quotes spewing out of the parties involved, Tyler Dellow has done you a great service with this break down of the measurable gap between the NHL and NHLPA. Keep in mind, first of all, that it's the...

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Despite this being "the most important week of negotiations", there's been basically nothing in terms of CBA/lockout news since last Thursday. It's nothing to panic about; after reading the solid material Mirtle at the Globe and mc79 have pumped out over the past few days, I'm pretty confident that we'll see a resolution to this whole thing soon. But until we do, let's enjoy the news and notes from other leagues, as well as a few history lessons and another look at how the Leafs may fare when this lockout ends. Kyle the Reporter has some notes about the Marlies...