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By Gus Katsaros
The Leafs arenâ€™t as bad as a four win first quarter. They were a playoff bubble team prior to the season, and the postseason wasnâ€™t necessarily the goal, as was becoming competitive enough to stay in the run. They arenâ€™t a bottom five NHL club, and unlikely to finish in a lottery position.
This season continues the transition like last season into shaping Toronto into a respectable organization, from management, down. That hasnâ€™t changed with the off season moves, aside from some specific performances.
‘Spirit is Everything’ is a fitting slogan .. because winning this season, means nothing.
- The Toronto Sun explains that Burke came very close to acquiring Brent Sopel in two potential deals that both were believed to have fallen apart on Sunday. Apparently, he is looking to re-acquire 1st and 2nd round picks to compensate for the loss of draft picks from the Kessel trade.
- ESPN’s John Buccigross presents a great human interest story that about Brian Burke’s gay son provides insight into the close father-son relationship.
- Nazem Kadri’s been on an absolute tear of late. Click here for highlights of his 3 point night against Kitchener and here for highlights of his beautiful shorthanded marker against Russia in the Subway Series.
The Leafs and Islanders have a fair bit of history between them. The Mike Peca/Darcy Tucker incident, the Leafs trading up to acquire Luke Schenn, and even the Islanders beating the Devils (who played Scott Clemmenson instead of Martin Brodeur) in a shootout to knock the Leafs out of the 2006-07 playoffs by one point in the final game of the season. Tonight, they meet again in Toronto.
It’s been widely reported the past few days that Leafs’ GM Brian Burke is working on at least two trades in an effort to provide a much-needed shakeup to the team.
Sifting through the vast amounts of information, misinformation, and fanboy longing, two teams keep getting repeated over and over … enough to raise at least one speculative eyebrow.
Warning: The following could make your eyes fall out, your ears explode, and cost you years of therapy. Howâ€™s that an introduction for you?
A dreadful 3-11-5 start for the Maple Leafs has everyone asking the same two questions. What the heck happened? And what the heck is the solution?
The Leafs were down early as rookie phenom Jonas Gustavsson was lit up for 3 goals on 5 shots. Poor defensive coverage, a terrible line change, and a lucky bounce on a shot that Gustavsson likely should have had forced the Leafs to swap the goaltenders and bring in Vesa Toskala. The goaltenders tapped sticks at the bench in the shuffle. “Tag, you’re it” can be described at the outcome.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are now back from Chicago to host the Calgary Flames at the ACC in Toronto. Jonas Gustavsson is expected to get the start tonight, but Vesa Toskala must be credited with his strongest performance of the season.
- The Toronto Star has an interesting article that mentions the Leafs would be at least open to talk of a second NHL team in the Greater Toronto Area.
- As Mike talked about in his blog, it appears that Ron Wilson will be riding the hot hand with goaltender Jonas Gustavsson until a change needs to be made.
- There are a few preliminary whispers of a possible deal involving a swap of netminders between the Leafs and the Ducks, with Vesa Toskala’s expiring contract heading down south and J.S. Giguere reunited with GM Brian Burke and goaltending coach Francois Allaire.
- Last, but not least, I’ve got a pair of last minute purples available to tomorrow’s night contest against the Wild. A friend of mine was unable to attend and asked me to post it up on MLHS that he’s willing to let them go for cost. Just like last time, this offer is on a first come first serve basis for those reaching me at my email below.
This past Saturday, The Fourth Period discussed on their radio segment the possibility of the Toronto Maple Leafs trading Tomas Kaberle at some point this season, if the team’s fortunes do not begin to improve.
The topic itself is not exactly news; talk of Kaberle being moved for some sort of tantalizing return or another has been commonplace in Toronto during the past couple of seasons. What is interesting, however, is the timing. Â Kaberle has been on a statistical tear to begin the year, leading all NHL defensemen with 17 points (2g, 15a) in 12 games. Â Coming off a disasterous 2008-09 campaign, Kaberle is back on the collective radars of several teams who believe a top-flight offensive blue-liner may be the final piece to their puzzle.
No truer words ring out to the ears of the throng of fans and particularly management of the Leafs victory over the current GM’s former organization.
And it took Alice in Chains to create them.
Cali, you’re alright …..
I know, I know.Â It’s just one win.
But you have to admit, it still feels good.Â Â Somewhat of a sense of relief is sweeping through Leafs Nation today.Â A sense that, although there is still a long way to go, things are not at a total loss.Â Â This team can find ways to win, and appears to be rounding into the sort of form envisioned by GM Brian Burke during a busy and much-hyped (over-hyped?) offseason.
… they didn’t give up the fight.
Maple Leafs’ fans should be very pleased with the effort displayed in last night’s 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Â Although another loss is disappointing on the surface, there is much to feel good about in regard to the team’s play following a week’s break. Â It is not often that one can look at a loss as a game to instill confidence; however, last night’s game should serve to do exactly that, among both players and fans alike.
Joe Bowen checks in from Vancouver and discusses the current predicament for the Leafs in goal. Leafs brought four goaltenders with them to Vancouver. Brian Burke discusses his lack of interest if he meets with Gillis or not.
Seven games into the season might still be too early to panic, but it’s becoming quite clear that we’re inching quickly towards the button. The Sun is reporting that Brian Burke has beeen making calls around the league in search for another goal scoring forward. In the same article, the Sun also mentions that Florida has begun preliminary talks in exploring trade possibilities for young power forward Nathan Horton, who has thus far struggled out of the gate. Is there a possible fit here?
I must confess, I bought in.Â I bought into the mantra of improved team toughness, improved goaltending, improved and revamped defense, and an improved top6 forward unit possessing speed and skill who would be protected and insulated by a tough as nails complimentary group of players.Â I watched the pre-season and was salivating at the skill, speed, and determination exhibited by the up and coming Leafs prospects.Â But, then something very strange happened, something I cannot comprehend nor understand.Â Every single player (with the exception of Stalberg), which had led to such optimism and belief of brighter days ahead – were demoted to the OHL or the AHL.Â I sat there shaking my head, and privately and publicly went on and on about how this team could not succeed without the youth.Â Ironically enough, I had absolutely no idea how right I was and how bad this could and would get.
You all know the record (0-5-1). However, has the Maple Leafs play thus far really warranted that record? Anyone who has watched all the gamesÂ will probably sayÂ yes, yes it has. But what do the numbers look like?
The Rangers are riding a 4 game win streak, the Leafs are not. The Rangers have a goal differential of +8 in their last 4 games, the Leafs have a goal differential of -6 in their last 3 games. The Rangers are 5th in the league on the PK (88%), while the Leafs are last (53.8%). The Rangers are 4th in the league for goals against per game (2.00). The Leafs are tied in last place with Florida at 4.25.
It seems just a few months after an investigation was done on the Maple Leafs regarding the Vancouver Canucks Sedin twins prior to free agency day, the Leafs face yet another potential charge for tampering. Once again, it involves the Canucks, and Vancouver’s GM Mike Gillis is not standing back this time.
It may be righteous laughter because you’ve been saying it all along: “Toskala won’t bounce back this year”.Â It could also be nervous laughter because you think to yourself: “no way he keeps this play up…right?”.Â It may just be maddening, maniacal laughter as you cry out: “well we all knew this season just could not get off to a perfect start for my Maple Leafs”. Any way you cut it, there is no satisfied, back-slapping laughter celebrating the accolades of Vesa Toskala.Â This is what you would have hoped for among the legion of Toronto supporters to start the 2009-2010 campaign.Â Sadly, our Finnish tender has left us wanting.Â Tonight’s 7-6 debacle against the Buffalo Sabres was just more of the same.
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