On the implications of the Leafs' recent turnaround:
"I'm proud of the guys, they're working their butts off and that's important for a lot of reasons; a lot of what we're trying to build here and reward our fans and our season ticket holders. They're important wins, and I know people are saying we're messing up our draft choice but we'll happily accept that; we'll take that trade off any time. If I could make a deal - I said this last week, and I'll say it again today - if I could make a deal today that would put us in the playoffs, I would do it, as long as it was consistent with our long-term strategy. Those type of deals right now are not being presented, so I don't think it's going to change our approach."
Update: A source's response to Brian Burke's rhetoric: â€œBurkieâ€™s making me laughâ€¦do you believe a thing he says right now? Theyâ€™ve mulled over a number of offers and will continue to do so. Heâ€™s trying to temper expectations here as he doesnâ€™t know if he can get the kingâ€™s ransom on these deals like heâ€™s aiming for. Believe me, heâ€™d almost trade the whole team less Schenn if he could. The Kaberle - Bruins denial was semantics as well."
-Draft pick be damned, being 7-1-1 in our last nine against the Senators is truly heart-warming. P.S., it's time to point the finger where it needs to be pointed, Bryan Murray... trade Jason Spezza and shake things up in the old country club. Also trade Nick Foligno. To us. For Hollweg.
Here's the latest from a trusty source.
On the Antropov-Chicago rumours heating up:
"Chatter has Hawks VERY INTERESTED in Antro and that talks have really heated up. Rumor is Burke's interested in the Hawks' young d-men, i.e. Duncan Keith."
There are three major defenseman that are available - Kaberle, Pronger and Bouwmeester - and several teams are jockeying for position for all of them. A handful of teams would be happy with any of them.Â If you had to put money on Burke, Martin or Murray, who would you bet on to get the most out of a dealâ€¦exactly.Â Burkeâ€™s got 'em exactly where he wants them and would prefer that one of the aforementioned d-men gets moved first as it will provide him even more leverage."
As the Trade Deadline approaches, speculation will continue to grow over which Maple Leaf players may be moving on to new NHL destinations.
The following is my own personal estimation of the likelihood of regular roster players actually getting dealt, based upon contract status, playoff/stretch drive impact potential, comments from players/coaches/management, and of course the metaphorical smoke & fire (the amount of repetition in the rumour mills).Â Â To quote the great Chazz Palminteri, "a rumour's not a rumour that doesn't die".
On a night where we can say the "Sundin Saga" came to its exciting and fitting end, the Leafs played a second straight game where they showed the hard work and energy that was so characteristic of their early-season stretch of hockey. Upon the shootout conclusion of this game, I received three different messages all musing over the same thing: "Whoever scripted this game did it perfectly."Â In the steady, reliable fashion that Leaf fans became accustomed to over thirteen years of service, Mats Sundin skated down the ice and with apparent effortlessness netted the shootout winner for his team.Â Except this time, he was doing it for the Vancouver Canucks.
A rather solid home game by the Leafs saw them come out on the short side of the stick in extra time (yet again), but a fair share of positives came out of tonight's matchup.Â Justin Pogge played a very solid game in net for the Blue and White, and really needs to continue seeing time like this for anyone to get a fair idea of how he will perform in the NHL.Â Moreover, most of the Leafs were buzzing all night long, and this game really could have gone either way.
John Mitchell capturing fastest skater honours was the revelation of today's team skills competition. I could've predicted the team with Jason Blake and Dominic Moore would've won the event but I'm surprised Mitchell clocked in with the best individual time. Here's the team press release containing the results:
Nothing beats slaughtering Cindy "headjerk" Crosby and his fellow flightless Birds. Nothing.
I think we've come to learn that - play your back-ups against the Blue and White as much as you want on any other night - don't underestimate the Maple Leafs if it's Saturday night. The Leafs now boast a 9-5-1 record on Hockey Nights in Canada as compared to their 12-20-9 record during the rest of the week. So as much as they may exacerbate your already depressing work week, at least they don't ruin your weekends. On this Valentine's day affair, the lowly Leafs were by no means their lovable selves from the opposition's perspective.
First of all, I know what youâ€™re thinking, and weâ€™re thinking it too; the â€œtorchâ€ for the upcoming Winter Games looks retarded. Anyways, it comes as no surprise as yet another team tries out their backup goaltender against the Leafs this season. Last year, by the end of January, the Leafs played 23 games against backup goaltenders in which they were 4-17-2. This year, same story, different team. Toskala looked to rebound back to his great 40 minutes in the Panthers game, but instead showed up as the guy who played the last 20 minutes and let in 3 goals in less than 10 minutes.
So the Leafs are interested in throwing their hat into the ring as netminding bad boy Ray Emery looks for a new home? Somebody should warn Brian Burke about Razor Rayâ€™s aversion to head gear following his altercation with Atlant Mytishchiâ€™s team trainer Roman Sokolov last month. Yes weâ€™ve all had a good laugh on YouTube at the expense of hockeyâ€™s self destructive answer to Britney Spears but hot of his hat phobia fisticuffs Emery has now walked out on the KHLâ€™s second best team for another far more disinteresting reason.
At a time when the Alex Rodriguez steroid issue is making the rounds around the sporting world, I'm wondering if Leaf coach Ron Wilson has some of that "magic stuff" stashed inside that doghouse of his. After Ian White and Jason Blake were healthy scratches early on during the season, both players have been playing exceptionally well of late. Ian White is logging a ton of very efficient ice-time on the blueline, while Blake is almost singlehandedly carrying the Maple Leaf offense. [more…]