For the first time since 2000—and only the 2nd time since expansion—both Conference Finals are going to a Game 7.
The hockey has been excellent—especially in the Western Conference in the Ducks/Blackhawks series—and Game 7s deciding on who goes to the Stanley Cup Final are always exciting, despite the Maple Leafs not being involved, as is tradition.
Based on play and roster construction, it would appear that these will be the best series of the playoffs. The New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, while trying to lock it down, are playing a looser brand of hockey, don't have the...
Anthony Petrielli: Exploring Mike Babcock's Systems - MLHS
This is not the first time Mike Babcock has been in charge of a team in transition, though. We can look back to see what he did in Detroit in order to get a better understanding of how he might structure the rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs.
clrkaitken: Rebuilding the Maple Leafs Part 2 - PPP
Before Brendan Shanahan and his management team set about rebuilding the team, we will go through the organization and assess what the team's strengths, weaknesses and key needs are. Last week we investigated the goaltending, and today we will...
Relive last night's drama:
Declan Kerin: Sam Carrick Signed to one-year deal (MLHS)
Carrick had a very good training camp with the Maple Leafs in September 2014, but was a victim of contract status and the numbers game with players that were no longer waiver exempt; Peter Holland was on a one-way contract and they would not have been able to keep him on the roster if they tried to send him down to the Marlies after camp, as he surely would have been claimed off waivers. On merit, Carrick should have started the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs fourth line center.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed pending restricted free agent Sam Carrick to a one-year deal.
From the Toronto Marlies:
Carrick, 23, collected two points (one goal, one assist) and nine penalty minutes in 16 regular season games with the Maple Leafs this season. Carrick made his NHL debut on November 1, 2014 against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Stouffville, Ontario native also skated in 59 regular season games with the Toronto Marlies, registering 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists) and 112 penalty minutes. Carrick has collected 66 points (25 goals, 41 assists) in 140 career American Hockey League games. Carrick was...
Cody Franson and Joffrey Lupul both weigh in on Mike Babcock, Mark Hunter's big impact has him gathering hype as the possible new Leafs GM, and more in today's links.
David Johnson: Attempting to quantify Mike Babcock’s on-ice impact (MLHS)
We already heard yesterday that Cody Franson believes that Babcock makes Toronto potentially more attractive to free agents, including himself, as a result of the credibility he brings to the team as well as the relationships he has built with players over his years in the NHL and with Team Canada. The question I will try to answer today: What will his impact be on...
Word on the street has Andrew Brewer joining Jim Hiller as new assistant coaches to Head Coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mike Babcock.
From KuklasKorner.com when Brewer was hired by the Red Wings:
Brewer, 29, joined the Red Wings after spending three years with Hockey Canada, serving as the organization’s video coach for various international events, most recently working with Mike Babcock for Canada’s gold-medal team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Since joining Team Canada in 2011, Brewer has served on Canada’s coaching staff for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 IIHF World Championships and World Junior Championships, along with other...
Frederik Gauthier's Rimouski Oceanic is set to face off against the Oshawa Generals in Gauthier's first game of the Memorial Cup. The game is live on Sportsnet at 4:30 p.m. EST.
Gauthier has 16 points in 20 playoff games, slowing down after a very productive start to his playoffs offensively, but he chipped in an assist on Rimouski's winning goal in the decisive QMJHL Final game, and continues to play in a shutdown role in the toughest matchups and take all the key defensive zone faceoffs. In Michael Dal Colle, Cole Cassells and company, The Goat has got a tough task ahead of...
According to Ansar Khan of Michigan Live, assistant coach Jim Hiller will join Mike Babcock on the Maple Leafs coaching staff next season.
Some management groups, upon hiring a new head coach, allow the new HC to bring along an assistant of his choosing and hire the rest by committee, but it's not yet clear what the agreement or hiring strategy will be for Mike Babcock as he goes about building his staff. It does sound like Babcock will be bringing along Hiller, who, based on his role with the Red Wings last season, would run the powerplay and do some analytics work.
After retiring from pro hockey in 2001-02, Hiller joined the...
Was there a hockey game last night?
You've got to love how disruptive the Maple Leafs can be.
There was TSN posting a lengthy clip of Mike Babcock's plane touching down early in the morning. There was members of the media throwing professional decorum by the wayside and applauding some of Babcock's meatier proclamations (According to Cathal Kelly, someone even let out an overjoyed sob among the gargantuan media corps in attendance). A pair of Sabres writers traveled down the QEW to grill Babcock on lying to their team, as if it was in some way shocking an eminently employable person with plenty of other options chose not to live in...
Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock sits down with George Stroumboulopoulos to talk about his decision to come to Toronto, his style of coaching, his relationship with Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland and so much more.
A great interview with the Leafs' new General, Mike Babcock, on Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown and Arash Madani. Transcript below.
If Shanahan wasn’t here, would you have come? What’s it like answering to a former player who once answered to you?
I don’t know if Shanny ever answered to me. They were veteran players. Shanny got 40 in 40 that year for me and I still remember being under the Windsor bridge when I got the phone call saying he was going to New York. His time was done in Detroit because Stevie was leaving, he thought it was...
The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to pull brain trust from the talent pool in the OHL, adding Jim Paliafito of the Saganaw Spirit to the front office in the role of Director of Player Evaluation.
Mark Hunter (London Knights), Kyle Dubas (Sault Ste. Marie), Lindsay Hofford (London Knights), Wes Clark (Sault Ste. Marie) and now Jim Paliafito—from the old boys club to the OHL boys club. The Leafs could not be better prepared for the OHL prospects in the 2015 draft class and should have some good intel on who might be undervalued for that #24 overall pick, in particular.
Paliafito has a...
Mike Babcock on The Bryan Hayes Show with Hayes and Dave Naylor.
On the surprise choice in Toronto:
Yeah, I didn’t see it coming either to be honest with you. I knew that they were looking for a coach. I knew I was going to go through a process. Kenny Holland and the Illitch family afforded me that opportunity. I came to visit the Leafs, I had to check back, I don’t know what day it was – the 9th or 10th – when I got back I told my family I was real impressed. I met with Hunts and Shanny...
Mike Babcock has been officially introduced as the 30th coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Full transcript and complete video of his introductory press conference below.
Mike Babcock's opening remarks:
I too would like to thank Ken Holland, the Detroit Red Wings, the Illitch family for ten unbelievable years and opportunity for my family to grow up in one city. Very, very special times. I’d like to thank the board, Larry, Brendan, for this opportunity. I’m thrilled today to be here. I have to tell you, I felt like I was 25 years old, scared to death to be here. I’m excited...
What a day in Leafland. It wasn't exactly a Clarkson trade-level blindside news bomb, but even best-in-the-biz Bob McKenzie gave the Leafs zero chance at landing Mike Babcock 24 hours ago, as it appears only Shanahan himself knows what Shanahan is up to.
The latest news and notes:
The angle of Babcock attracting talent is going to be fascinating to follow (Stamkos 2016!!) and we may be seeing our first signs of it with a potential assistant coach hiring of Guy Boucher. The Red Wings reportedly were interested in Boucher last season as an assistant under Babcock, but he was locked into...
Mike Babcock is set to become the next head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Babcock is flying into Toronto tomorrow morning, when he's expected to put pen to paper on a long-term, unprecedentedly expensive contract with the Maple Leafs.
The one thing MLSE can’t make excuses for is being outbid in any non-capped competition. There is some strange criticism surfacing on Twitter about MLSE "just throwing money" at Babcock, but there's really no excuse for MLSE not to have made it very clear to Babcock from the beginning that they'll offer a million more a year than any other team's best offer. Why not? Think...
Maple Leafs hire Lindsay Hofford
The Leafs officially added former London Knights director of scouting Lindsay Hofford to their amateur scouting department yesterday. Hofford will be one of Mark Hunter's guys and also has a connection to player development consultant Darryl Belfry through the Pro Hockey Development Group.
Hofford's history with 2015 draft prospect Mitchell Marner is long - Hofford had him on his team at the Hill Academy in Vaughan, with the Don Mills Flyers, and in London on the Knights -- and will no doubt add more fuel to the fire that Marner is going to be the Leafs' pick at number four....