In a season geared more towards the June entry draft than an April playoff berth, and with the World Junior Championships, the annual showcase of young hockey talent, stealing the hockey headlines as of late – at least in Canada, – it’s hard not to start dwelling on the possibilities available for the Maple Leafs when June rolls around. There are perhaps more imminent Leaf matters at hand in the form of the changes Brian Burke is expected to execute in the nearer few months, but I think I speak on behalf of all of Leaf Nation when I say last June, the time at which the Leafs welcomed Luke Schenn to the organization, was one of the most exciting and promising moments for the fanbase in recent times. This June will hopefully bring about similar jubilation and promise as Burke adds at least one more prized first-round pick to the fold of the re-building Maple Leafs.
Canada did all the right things in tonightâ€™s game. They played a great cycling game in the offensive zone and have gotten more creative in their passing plays. They continued their crash-the-net tactics and even moved the puck out for some big point shots. On the defensive side, they played the 1-2-2 trap system the Fins used Sunday night, and applied an aggressive attack in the defensive end to completely shut down Richard Panik and the Slovaks.
Toronto Maple Leafsâ€™ prospect, Chris Didomenico (or Dido for short) is set to make his World Junior Hockey Championship debut this Friday as the team prepares for its first pre-tournament exhibition match against Team Sweden.
On the topic of spin-o-ramas, here’s a highlight reel play from Leafs’ 6th rounder in 2006 Tyler Ruegsegger during recent collegiate action. [More after the jump, including an update from U of D head coach George Gwozdecky].
After enjoying his much-deserved holiday, Cliff Fletcher will sit down with Brian Burke in early January to structure his new role within the organization as per the man himself. It is expected he’ll assume a role in the senior adviser capacity.
Hey folks, couldn’t sleep, so I decided to grab a glass of milk and pop on the computer for a few minutes and was privy to some late night “breaking news”. There are unconfirmed reports that Toronto may have put in a claim on the recently waived Tampa Bay Lightning forward, Chris Gratton.
“The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t waiting for Brian Burke to come in and start making moves, as the club traded defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo and forward Alex Steen to the St. Louis Blues for forward Lee Stempniak on Monday.”
During Saturday night’s home game against the Canadiens, Mike Van Ryn went back in his own end to play the puck, and was subsequently hit from behind by Kostopoulous squarely on the numbers, sending Mike face first into the boards. The impact was tremendous and right away you could tell that it was serious as Van Ryn collapsed immediately in a heap, holding his face with blood spilling onto the ice. The hit occurred at 7:03 into the first period, and Kostopoulos received a 5 minute boarding major and a game misconduct.
Sorry for the delay guys.Â We greatly appreciate the flood of great questions and comments, and are sorry to say we couldn’t get to them all. We’ve all been pretty busy lately for a variety of reasons, so without any further ado, let’s get started on the 1st ever Maple Leafs HotStove Hockey Panel Discussion.
Forming our panel for this session is Alec Brownscombe of Hockeybuzz and MLHS godfather, Gus Katsaros of Mckeen’s and MLHS fantasy expert, and myself, Alex Tran, an MLHS blogger.
Strengths: Strong skater with good acceleration. Quick hands, a great shot and excellent offensive instincts. Complete player who can bang a bit, and provides a developing two-way game. Possesses some gamebreaking ability.
>>>DISCUSS IT HERE
Itâ€™s time to take a closer look at the Maple Leafs roster for the upcoming season. As much as some of the younger players have performed well this pre-season, there seems to be too many one way contracts with a death grip on much of the opening night roster.
There’s a little bit of the irony in the title because in fact, Christopher Didomenico has rarely been in the spotlight at all during his hockey career. He is the definition of an underdog, and a testament to what hard work and perserverance can lead to.
As a young Toronto native, he was passed over by the OHL draft, after playing just 4 games in 2 seasons with the North York Rangers of the OPJHL. So, he managed to hook onto a tryout with the Saint John’s Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, made the team, and has blossomed into a great young player since.