Home Tags Posts tagged with "Captain"

Captain

408
Dave Nonis

I really wanted to write a wrap up notebook, but I wasn’t going to subject myself to watching that game again, nor do I particularly want to write about it. I mean, the only time I watched that Bergeron game winner was live and that’s how it is going to remain, so I wouldn’t be much of a source for insight or analysis.

It really was a great year for the Leafs, though. At the beginning of the season I didn’t think they would make the playoffs, and at the beginning of the first round I wasn’t sure they would make it much of a series. They proved me wrong both times. They proved a lot of people wrong.

In order for the Leafs to get better, though, they’ll need to have a strong offseason and smooth out some of their rough edges.

199

Week one of the Toronto Maple Leafs schedule is in the books, and while it only featured two games, there is plenty to talk about as far as the season goes.  The Maple Leafs are off to a 2-0 start, having won their second game of the season nearly one month ahead of the time they got win two last season.

Through week one of the season, here are the Maple Leafs player power rankings, as seen by me.

965
J-S Giguere

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

The wait is over. After yet another long off-season following a fifth consecutive year of missing out on the NHL post-season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are set to kick off the 2010-11 season against their oldest rival, the Montreal Canadiens.

Both teams have undergone an off-season where – despite the lack of a full-scale overhaul – crucial moves were made to bring in key players or (in Montreal’s case) provide a better opportunity for players already in the organization. Gone from the 2009-10 Toronto lineup are Viktor Stalberg, Rickard Wallin and Keith Primeau, replaced by Kris Versteeg, Colby Armstrong, and Brett Lebda. In Montreal, the most impactful move was the trade of playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to St Louis in exchange for Lars Eller, a move which paves the way for Carey Price to assert his standing among starting NHL netminders.


Yes, I'm 44 years old and have a Leafs lunchpail. What's your point?

It begins tonight – the 2010-2011 Toronto Maple Leafs season. New captain, new faces, new year, clean slate. Hope. The excitement of a new journey.

Whatever level of excitement we the fans have for it, tonight is not a measuring stick. The Habs are somewhat undermanned, with Andrei Markov out of the lineup and Carey Price reportedly feeling under the weather. Moreover, last season’s lengthy run in the postseason notwithstanding, I doubt whether anyone standing out of Pierre Gauthier’s earshot considers the Habs to be likely to repeat that sort of performance this time ’round. Tonight’s match is last year’s 29th place finishers vs. the fluky Conference finalists who lost their rabbit’s foot and are missing their star defenceman. Hardly a Clash of the Titans.

There is much to watch for technically in the Leafs’ play – is there improvement on the power play, have adjustments been made on the penalty kill and in defensive coverage generally?  Blue and white hearts, long afflicted with Toskalaitis, will flutter when otherwise harmless pucks are directed at the Leaf net, and will skip a beat as anxious eyes hope innocuous shots are turned aside with a timely glove or some good positional play by J.S. Giguere.

One thing I’ll be watching for more than anything is signs that this team has bonded and is prepared to play as a cohesive unit.  I’m looking to the Captain to set the tone, to play with a fire in his belly but showing discipline and commitment to team above all. (UPDATE: hope the Leafs come to the rink carrying their lunchpails, logo-emblazoned or not).

The Leafs should beat this Montreal team; they should be emotionally charged and, being relatively healthy, they ought to find that the support of the faithful will propel them to a momentum-inducing victory over a hated historical rival.  Of course, there are no guarantees, and mid-week games at the ACC being what they are, the support of the faithful can often be mistaken aurally for the waiting room at a seniors’ home.

I’m excited.  I love home openers.  Love watching the 48th Highlanders march across the ice as the opening ceremonies come to a close, and the two starting centres drift toward the faceoff dot, preparing to lean in and start the battle.  Hope you’re excited too.  Looking forward to sharing this season with you all.

GO LEAFS GO!

p.s. To help get you in the mood, check out The Maple Leafs song: a video tribute.

UPDATE: I’ve posted a picture of my Toronto Maple Leafs lunchpail because (a) I can; and (b) the fact that I’m 44 years old and have a Toronto Maple Leafs lunchpail (for reasons I can’t explain), among dozens of other pieces of logo-emblazoned merchandise,  tells you all about why I have the level of excitement I’m feeling right now.  What’s the weirdest piece of Leafs merch you have squirreled away in your residence?

400


Morrisonn welcomes Ross to the Maple Leafs' organization

Not a bad start for the Maple Leafs’ 2010 draft class… It was announced on Monday that forward prospects Greg McKegg, the Leafs’ 3rd round pick 62nd overall, and Brad Ross, the Leafs’ 2nd round pick 43rd overall, were named OHL and WHL Players of the Week respectively for the week of September 27th to October 3rd. Not to be forgotten is forward Josh Nicholls, the team’s 7th round pick 182nd overall who is off to a career best start for the Saskatoon Blades.

644

Coming off a tough shootout loss against the Flyers last night, the Leafs will look to rebound on the road against the Sabres tonight at HSBC Arena. Despite blowing a late third period lead, there was a lot to like about the Leafs’ performance, including a strong bounce back game from captain Dion Phaneuf and spurts of brilliance from the club’s new top line of Versteeg, Bozak and Kessel. The Buds will be in tough tonight against the Sabres, who will be icing a lineup very similar to the one they will open the season with.

640

An intriguing top line of Kris Versteeg, Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel will feature in tonight’s rematch with the Flyers following the Leafs’ 11-round shootout win over Philadelphia last night at the John Lebatt Centre in London. The trio is the most skilled iteration of forwards the Leafs’ roster has to offer, and combined with Dion Phaneuf and Tomas Kaberle on the blueline (who will also dress) represent an interesting potential powerplay option for coach Wilson. The results with the man advantage tonight, then, will be well worth monitoring.

844

After months of nothing but Kaberle rumours and Grabovski lawsuits, Leafs Nation will finally get a glimpse of their 2010-2011 Toronto Maple Leafs.  Being the first game of the preseason, Toronto is going with a healthy mix of youngsters, borderliners, and veterans.  Luckily, fans will not have to wait to see most of the new Leafs (Clarke MacArthur excepted) as off-season acquisitions Versteeg, Armstrong, Brown and Lebda will all be hitting the ice.

409

Day Two of on-ice participation is now in the books .. the sessions all had a purpose, as camp not only winds down, but clear decisions need to be made on who will remain with the main roster and who will be going to the Marlies or back to their original junior team.

A breakdown of the drills and more observations from the intra squad game after the jump.

Sunday Training Camp Day 2 practice

Teams A and B practiced with Team A on the main ice. (Breakdown of teams is here.

The drills weren’t very different from the previous days, they all focused on a real-game situation and the coaching staff made variations along the way.

499
Three Captains

Three Captains

Whether it is fair or unfair, our perceptions become our reality.

During an appearance on London radio’s “The Hook” with Norman James last Friday, our conversation at one point took an interesting turn toward the notion of player personality, and how it affects fan perception and the manner in which fans relate to the players.

It’s an interesting subject – the trichotomy of fan/player/team identity, and not one the majority of fans spend much time pondering. What is it, beyond star power, that draws fans to feel they have formed certain bonds with specific players they have never met? What is it that keeps others at arms’ length? Is it the nature of the players themselves, is it our own as fans, or is it perhaps both?

236

In part 11 of his 12 Burning Questions series, Derek Harmsworth takes a look at one of the hottest topics in Leafs Nation today: just how long of a leash does Ron Wilson have?

In the summer of 2008, the Toronto Maple Leafs were in the midst of a major overhaul.  Much maligned general manager John Ferguson, Jr. had been relieved of his duties with the organization, and as nice a man as JFJ was when I met him at the Leafs rookie and orientation camp a year prior, there is no solid argument that can be made for him as a good GM.

Ferguson Jr, to his credit, can take solace in the fact that a few of his draft picks are now cracking the Leafs as legitimate players, Kulemin and Gunnarsson among them, although even that fact can be debated  - how much was scouting and how much was general managing?

In a word, John Ferguson Jr. left the Toronto Maple Leafs in shambles, and some of the moves he made, continually sacrificing youth for a quick fix solution (or at least something he thought was a quick fix) have very well set the Maple Leafs back at least an additional few years in the rebuilding process.

360

In part ten of his 12 burning questions series, Derek Harmsworth takes a look at the importance of a good early start, and if the Leafs can avoid another disastrous start.

There really isn’t any other way to put it.  No matter how you slice it, no matter how you try to spin it, or how you try to put a sugar coating on it, the cold hard fact still shines through.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were not a very good team last year.

Although their stats, and their general play, improved dramatically following the late January trades that saw them overturn nearly half their lineup, the fact remains that the 2009-2010 edition of the Maple Leafs fought inconsistency, as well as young inexperience that had them struggling most of the year.

But it could be argued that never were they worse, than in the first month of the season.

233

In part three of his 12 burning questions series, Derek Harmsworth looks at whether Mike Komisarek can rebound from a tumultuous first season in Blue and White.

It’s no secret that Brian Burke likes his hockey teams to be, for the most part, big, nasty, and in your face physical.  He also has a penchant for looking for players from his home country of the United States, but as he said, he would sign players who were from the moon if they could play the game.

570

In part one of his 12 burning questions series, Derek Harmsworth takes a look at whether the Maple Leafs new captain can return to form.

January 31st will forever be a day that will have historical significance for the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise, and all its fans.  How large of a significance it will have in the grand scheme of things has yet to be determined, but in many ways, it could be argued that it was the day the franchise turned the corner.

516

by Michael Cuttell

Put your hand up if you think the Leafs are only one or two pieces away from winning a Stanley Cup this year. OK, I admire your enthusiasm, but put your hands down! There’s actually a good reason I’ve posed this question and I’ll come to it again in just a minute. With the long awaited Kaberle trade still looming, many in Leafs Nation have asked the question: If he could be had so cheaply, why didn’t Burke sign Frolov? The answer is that he didn’t want him; and trust me Leafs’ fans, you don’t want him either!

257

It was no less than two months ago that I was pondering this same question, that of captaincy, and examining the same factors. Thinking of all the tangibles – speed, talent and scoring – along with attributes that are harder to judge – the ability to command the respect of the team, lead with strength of character and handle the Toronto media through success and failure. The lone difference is that last time, it was the Leafs.

762

As much of the league takes a post-draft/free agent frenzy breather for the Canada Day and July 4th long weekend, I figure I’ll spark some discussion with a bit of educated speculation. In talking to a source over the past week it’s been suggested to me that Brian Burke has a  deal or two on the table for scoring help involving a Leaf asset he’s struggling with the idea of parting with. It’s said at this time Burke is hoping desperation on the part of the involved GMs reduces the price on a few top six trade options as the off-season continues.

    277

    We’ve partnered up with Pension Plan Puppets to bring to you a Player Review series, where we will be evaluating and grading the 2009-10 season for every Leaf who featured in a significant number of games for the Blue and White last season, with an eye towards 2010-11. Today we feature Dion Phaneuf, profiled by Nikhil Daljeet:

    The Summary:

    The arrival of Dion Phaneuf in Toronto this year will undoubtedly be remembered as a significant moment in the annals of Maple Leafs history, for better or for worse.  The trade that Brian Burke engineered for the newest Leafs captain has been generally heralded as a wise maneuver for his Toronto club.  However, this transaction occurred after a full 2008-2009 season that saw a noticeable decrease in offensive output from Phaneuf (Flames management insisted it was due to injury).  Moreover, the 2009-2010 season gave way to a floundering Calgary team that was in severe need of a major shakeup and Flames GM Sutter did exactly that on January 31st.

    132

    It’s not every day the Maple Leafs name a new captain. In fact, it’s not every decade. Sundin was named in 1997, 13 years prior to the Leafs appointment of Phaneuf. And with the announcement being made in front of a room of roughly 100 media personnel, the message was relayed to the world using every different angle imaginable.

    Instead of weighing the pros and cons, balancing the collective good choices of Burke and Wilson against the bad, MLHS is going to bring you into the event. Thousands of writers have provided their opinion but little time has been spent enabling the reader to form their own. So please, if you will, grab your notepad and follow us past the security and the media media check-in, and into the press conference that will see Dion Phaneuf named the 18th captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

      409

      We’ve partnered up with Pension Plan Puppets to bring to you a Player Review series, where we will be evaluating and grading the 2009-10 season for every Leaf who featured in a significant number of games for the Blue and White last season, with an eye towards 2010-11. Next up we feature Tomas Kaberle, profiled by Chemmy:

      “The Summary: Where to start with Tomas Kaberle? He’s a four time all star including the last three times the games were played. He’s second all time in scoring for Toronto Maple Leafs defensemen.

      Kaberle’s scoring was instrumental in the Leafs first win of the season when he had a goal and four assists as part of a hot streak that saw him put up 22 points in his first 20 games. The opposite side of that coin is that to finish the season Tomas Kaberle scored two goals and had seven assists in 33 games; a stretch that saw the Leafs play 93 pt pace hockey. His slump started before the arrival of Dion Phaneuf but our new captain’s arrival begs the question: does Tomas Kaberle have a role on the Leafs in the future?