Opinion

Opinion

The frustration was evident in Phil Kessel's tone as he answered a stream of media questions regarding his latest goal-scoring slump, now at ten games. Or perhaps, more accurately, his tone was one of resignation. Sighing often, Kessel repeated the words "I don't know" on multiple occasions in response to inquiries as to why he has been so snake-bitten, and what he feels can be done to re-discover his scoring touch. This was clearly a player at his wit's end, a player who seemed to be completely out of answers as to why the puck won't go in despite numerous...

Phil Kessel made a statement today. A big one. It's now put Brian Burke between a rock and a hard place. A decision must be made and it looks as though the Leafs (arguably) best sniper has put that responsibility on Brian Burke and only Brian Burke. "It's not working out here," said a frustrated Kessel after being demoted to the third line during practice on Sunday. He's now sitting on the right wing of one Darryl Boyce and one Joey Crabb. "Maybe there needs to be a change." Phil Kessel has sounded an alarm today, and all Leafs fans...

There is little doubt among observers that the Leafs will attempt to make some moves at the trade deadline a month from now, and with the team's leadership meeting in Florida to plot strategy, many feel there could be a shakeup coming prior to the annual auction at the end of February. The question is, what sort of a shakeup will GM Brian Burke be able to pull off? With the team in a rut, and several core players not playing up to expectation, can the Leafs be realistically expected to put together a major deal which could turn the...

Loy·alty (-tē) Noun pl. loyalties -·ties Defined as a quality, state, or instance of being loyal; faithfulness or faithful adherence to a person, government, cause, duty, etc. In the midst of one of the worst blowout losses (7-0) in the history of the beloved Toronto Maple Leafs I thought I would pose a question, what does loyalty mean to you?  The idea came to me after I simply asked on my twitter account if there was actually a team in the NHL right now that you wouldn’t trade roster for roster with the Leafs?  I said it half joking though try and...

After surviving fans literally chanting for his head at the ACC, receiving the backing of Brian Burke with a very believable reaffirmation and absorbing the endless abuse from fans on every Leaf related website on the internet, Ron Wilson is still left standing.  The scape goat that the entire Leafs Nation wanted to noose for their team's lousy performance coupled with the potential consecutive lottery pick finishes without possessing a lottery pick seems to be getting the last laugh. Burke did the right thing by refusing to scapegoat Wilson.  Will he now retain Wilson for next season and possibly...

It should come as no surprise that James Reimer received an opportunity to start in the NHL, during his re-call to fill in for the injured Jean-Sebastien Giguere. What is somewhat of a surprise is the amount Reimer has played (3 starts in the past 4 games) during a time where Jonas Gustavsson was expected to seize the opportunity to prove himself the Maple Leafs' netminder of the future. The question is, to what degree has Reimer's performance  influenced the decision to use him as the de-facto starter, rather than the incumbent? Is Reimer receiving an extended look as part of...

Post Game Notes: Leafs light up Atlanta One of the more polarizing players on the Toronto Maple Leafs roster, Mikhail Grabovski has been on the tongues of Leafs Nation with his current hot streak in full effect. He suddenly has a lot of new and of course the old diehard “always believed in him” fans on his side with his torrid scoring pace over the past month.  Another game tonight, another two goals... the hot streak is borderline madness. Just how hot has “Grabo” been?  Think back if you will to last season when enigmatic (for Toronto anyway) scoring winger...

So the Toronto Maple Leafs did the inevitable and sent down there 2009 1st round selection Nazem Kadri to the AHL (Toronto Marlies).  Whether it is longer term or just to get his 2-game suspension off the books remains to be seen but I for one hope he is firmly entrenched down there, for his own good.  I still have hope that Kadri can develop into a serviceable and possibly even productive second line centre but for now he is not even close to being NHL ready. To really drive home that point let’s head to Alberta and take a...

Last night on twitter, I (LeafsHotStove) had a brief conversation with KCCanuck and mlse about this Leafs team's problem with slow starts after it all too familiarly fell behind 2-0 to the Thrashers in under three minutes. I asserted that Wilson's Leafs were again starting to play when there was nothing to play for before PPP suggested it might be apart of something bigger like a lack of talent since the lockout. The question for me then became; while the Leafs are known for late season surges when the pressure's off, has seemingly poor game-to-game preparation been unique to...

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been called plenty of things this season but I can honestly say there is one I have never heard until recently after reading a piece by an Edmonton sports writer, chicken.  The writer said the Leafs played the role of chicken (and turtles) versus the Edmonton Oilers stating Colton Orr spent the “entire evening running away from Steve MacIntyre” and “found an escape hatch” when he beat Oilers tough guy Zack Stortini “in a marathon”. Where to begin?  First off, Colton Orr runs away from no man, this I think most NHL fight pundits will...

According to TSN's Ice Chips, Ron Wilson has continued to rearrange the deck chairs on the sinking Titanic with some more line shuffling. Not that you can blame Wilson for trying; he has too. The practice lines are listed as follows: MacArthur - Grabovski - Kulemin Armstrong - Versteeg - Kessel Sjostrom - Bozak- Brent Orr - Kadri - Mitchell So, Wilson is looking to size up his top six and establish a balance in grit and skill throughout his lines - not a bad idea in principle. Moving Colby Armstrong (it will be interesting to see what impact his return might have in...

The potential sports story of the decade for the city of Toronto, and more specifically, fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs is unfolding right before our eyes.  The legitimacy of the potential sale of MLSE to Rogers should not be easily dismissed.  The rumoured sale simply makes sense for all parties involved.  The recent announcement of the pending retirement of MLSE CEO Richard Peddie now starts to bring the picture into focus and adds significant legitimacy to the Toronto Star report of MLSE share sales from the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP) to Rogers Inc.  The fact that the...

Kris Versteeg

To say the least, it was a disappointing weekend in Leaf land. A decent effort Saturday versus the Canucks was spoiled, Kadri’s season debut will mostly be remembered for losing the puck on a 3-on-1, and ex-Leaf Viktor Stalberg scored his 6th goal of the season for the Blackhawks...in overtime...with Brian Burke in attendance. The Maple Leafs’ losing streak ballooned to 8 games after falling to the Canucks on a weak goal on J.S. Giguere in the third period Saturday. Giguere made some big saves throughout the game, but couldn’t make an easy one in the end. Perhaps Brett Lebda...

I recall our old colour commentator Harry Neale being asked what he thought made a great coach and he shrewdly remarked “great players”.  Now I know the topic of firing Ron Wilson has been beat to death but I wanted to further comment after reading a story from our friends over at Pension Plan Puppets who feel he should absolutely be fired now. It was an entertaining piece “Why Ron Wilson Should Get Fired ASAP” asking a tough question and answering unequivocally: “The question isn't whether Ron Wilson is or isn't a good coach. The question is will replacing Ron Wilson improve...

The one area of weakness that was continually mentioned in the offseason centred around the Toronto Maple Leafs lack of scoring depth and the relatively lacklustre top six forward unit overall.  We heard it time and again as the team’s brain trust attempted to move our best defenseman over the past decade for any forward who could be added to one of the top two scoring lines.  At the same time we heard that the defence core we possessed was solid from one through seven and our goaltending should be hugely improved. So should it really come as any surprise early...

As the chant of ‘Thank you Kessel’ rang through my ears while watching the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Boston Bruins last night I could not help but feel the need to comment on how ridiculous that cheer actually was.  Ok, I know they were just attempting to be clever but are they really all that thankful that a guy with 37 goals in his past 78 games is not on their team anymore? For those curious Kessel’s goal pace since joining Toronto is actually the best mark of his career, without Marc Savard.  Imagine he still had a legitimate...

Nothing gets Leafs Nation into a frenzy quicker than some good old fashioned trade rumours and with the recent news breaking that Brian Burke is "open for business" it was obviously going to make headlines.  Bob McKenzie was told by his sources that the Leafs had an offer on the table involving two bottom six forwards coming to Toronto for one of our current NHL bottom six forwards and an AHL player.  Burke basically inferred the offer was half way decent so it likely would have solidified our bottom six forward lines slightly, but nothing to really get worked up about. ...

There has been extensive and rampant debate, spanning almost two full seasons, on the value of one Mikhail Grabovski.  I personally have had more than a few pleasant debates in the comments section of MLHS specifically regarding this player and his skill sets.  Oddly enough, even now, when his contributions border on the insanely obvious, Grabovski's name is often overlooked when discussing the reasons for the Leafs early success.  I know and understand that many on this site, including the more prominent bloggers, are not fans of Mr Grabovski's game.  I am here to ask you all to take...

Mike Brown

Two games in, and the Maple Leafs are 2-0 for the first time in 11 years. While some might be tempted to find meaning within that number, the truth is that in terms of history the number is rather meaningless. With still 80 games left on the docket, and the Leafs about to embark on their first road trip of the season, expectations must be tempered despite the hot start (and the rare sight of a 4th overall placement on the ESPN Power Rankings). In other words, a 7-0-1 start (to counter last season's 0-7-1) is probably just a little too...

One of the more interesting subplots to the Maple Leafs' 2010-11 preseason has been the Michael Liambas situation. Offered a tryout - amidst much fanfare - in time for the team's annual Rookie Camp, the infamous winger was ultimately released on Thursday, during the first round of cuts at the NHL training camp. Ordinarily, such a move would be regarded as no more than a footnote, a regular or even "to be expected" occurrence which takes place in any training camp. But Liambas' situation was - and remains - anything but ordinary. The part of the saga most know all too...