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- The Globe sheds a little insight into Gustavsson’s heart condition, noting that the procedure went well and that he should be back between the pipes next week.
- Quick tip of the cap to Martin Brodeur for his 3-0 shutout win over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night. The victory marked his 103rd career shutout, tying Terry Sawchuk for the all-time lead. Is he not the leading candidate for Team Canada this year or what?
- Speaking of Team Canada, I’ve got an exciting interview lined up with Johnny Misley, the Executive VP of Hockey Operations for Hockey Canada and right hand man to Bob Nicholson. We’re going to be touching on both the Men’s Olympic team in Vancouver, as well as World Junior team in Regina. Please add any questions you’d like me to pass onto him in the comments section below!
- Lastly, I’ve still got some tickets to the Islanders match up tomorrow night at the ACC. Be sure to drop me an email if interested.
The Toronto Maple Leafs continue their 3 game road swing tonight as they visit Columbus to take on Rick Nash and his Blue Jackets. The Leafs will be without both Jonas Gustavsson and Carl Gunnarsson for the trip, and Vesa Toskala will be in the lineup as MacDonald’s backup for the tilt.
Tonight’sÂ loss against the Northeast rival Buffalo Sabres seemed to play out like the typical Maple Leaf ’09-’10 regular season game thus far. A fairly decent effort for about 75-80% of the game, a few brain cramps here and there, a ton of unconverted offensive opportunities, an unlucky bounce or two, along with the end result of an “L” in the record books.
The Leafs hope to get their first three-game winning streak of the season tonight when the Buffalo Sabres roll into the Air Canada Centre. Â Toronto has gone five straight games without a regulation loss (3-0-2) and hope to continue their stretch of strong offensive performances (3.8 goals per game). Â They’ll be in tough against a Sabres team that is back on the winning track after a slight skid, supported by one of the hottest goaltenders this season in Ryan Miller.
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.
It is their second meeting this year, and the first played a big part on blinding fans for both teams in the belief that each were elite competitors. Since that opening night, the Habs have on 5-7-0, while the Leafs have gone 1-7-2. But there are always upsides, and tonight marks to start to capitalize on those specifics.
The Buffalo Sabres are first in their division with a 7-1-1 record, first in the league with average shots per game (36), and have won every game in which the opposition out-shot them. Ryan Miller also holds the best goals against average (1.60) and save percentage (0.944) in the NHL. The Leafs visit them tonight in an effort to try and ruin many of those stats.
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.
Ed. Note: Meet Daniel Santos, the newest member of the MLHS blogging team. Daniel serves as the Editorial Coordinator for The Score, and formerly blogged about the Maple Leafs for The Score’s “Six Pack.” Welcome, Dan.
Well, the comeback kids couldn’t do it tonight. Unlike last night against Pittsburgh, The Leafs couldn’t overcome a slow start tonight and fell 3-2 to the Buffalo Sabres.
Amid speculation that Brian Burke is positioning himself to extend an offer sheet – perhaps to long-rumoured target, 22-year-old winger Phil Kessel – after swapping picks to recover the Leafs’ 2010 second round pick in a deal that would seemingly make little sense otherwise, there is another possibility to consider in regards to trade negotiations.
Via TSN, Bob Mckenzie is reporting that the Maple Leafs have re-acquired its own 2010 2nd round draft pick from Chicago in exchange for its own 2011 3rd round pick and the 2011 2nd round pick recently acquired from Calgary as part of the Anton Stralman trade.
With this trade, the Maple Leafs now possess the necessary draft picks to tender an offer sheet to a restricted free agent, and Mckenize speculates that GM Brian Burke may choose to make a run at the still unsigned Boston sniper Phil Kessel. The Rangers’ centre Brandon Dubinsky and the Sabres’ winger Drew Stafford are the two other names that may interest the Maple Leafs.
Here are the compensation brackets for restricted free agents, via NHL.com:
Expect rumors to run rampant over the next few days!
Not a whole lot of news coming out of the NHL ranks these last few days, as the few free agents still available are playing the waiting game (kind of surprising to note that Alex Tanguay’s still out there). As we try to make it through the last work day before the weekend, let’s touch upon more trade speculation out of Chicago, Leaf prospect Mikhail Stefanovich, early playoff predictions and the Leafs’ second annual Coca Cola Fans First Game.
The interview between league Commissioner, Gary Bettman, on Toronto radio station, FAN590 segment “The Game Plan” featuring Doug Maclean and Jack Armstrong, was a first hand look at the battle the relocation to Hamilton has become. Stating that after Jim Balsillie’s attempts at hijacking the Nashville Predators to Hamilton, the commish indicated he sat down with the billionaire outlining what it would take to become an NHL owner.
This proposed offer to purchase the struggling Phoenix Coyotes by Jim Balsillie may be a better possibility this time around. It may seem impossible to fathom another NHL club so close to its flagship franchise, the Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres, but it’s not jurisdiction that’s at the heart of the issue here.
It’s the salary cap, revenue and a return to the dead puck era.
Excitement abounds these days in the streets of Toronto, as a long-overdue rebuilding effort for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the prospect of a revitalized franchise, moves into high gear.
Arguably the last successful revitalization of the Maple Leafs franchise occurred in the early 1990s, when in the span of three seasons the Leafs went from basement-dwellers to Stanley Cup contenders.Â Although many are quick to credit then-GM Cliff Fletcher’s 1992 mega-deal with the Calgary Flames as the key turning point for the franchise, the groundwork for the franchise’s rapid acceleration from pretender to contender actually began much earlier … in the 1989-90 season, to be exact.
So you’re Brian Burke and it’s July 1st.
Who do you go after? And what is the contract you offer?
With Files from Gil Brown
Brian Burke doesn’t take credit for the Maple Leafs drafting Luke Schenn 5th overall in 2008, but he’s sure glad they did.Â Under different circumstances, which we’ll get into over a series of posts, Burke’s Ducks would have been in the mix for the Saskatoon native at the 2008 draft.
Fortune shined on the blue and white allowing them to trade up to 5th overall pick.Â There was an associated cost from their original seventh spot, but the end result is a potential future Maple Leafs captain of the Scott Stevens mold.
Unbelievable as it seems; perhaps, even laughable, Schenn, could have been wearing Ducks colors.
The story doesn’t begin in Anaheim, however.Â It starts in Edmonton.
While draft picks are high priority in any potential trade talks leading up to the March 4th deadline, Brian Burke is also said to be targeting a group of young but already established NHLers, according to a source.
Hereâ€™s a look back at all the exciting events that happened in tonightâ€™s game:
Now on to the post-game reaction.
The craft of writing fiction requires an authorâ€™s innate ability to capture – and maintain – the readerâ€™s attention. Itâ€™s sleight of hand – or pen in this instance, with twists and turns deciphering an ending not envisioned by the reader. The process takes vision, vivid imagination, a well scripted story line and â€˜sleight of penâ€™ to playfully mislead readers into a perceived outcome, while planting thoughts and doubts that in the end make for a fantastic story.
It happens in the hockey world, too, and might be happening to Leafs fans currently. It could be a main factor in drafting Victor Hedman over John Tavares in the 2009 draft.
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