One of the more interesting subplots to the Maple Leafs' 2010-11 preseason has been the Michael Liambas situation. Offered a tryout - amidst much fanfare - in time for the team's annual Rookie Camp, the infamous winger was ultimately released on Thursday, during the first round of cuts at the NHL training camp.
Ordinarily, such a move would be regarded as no more than a footnote, a regular or even "to be expected" occurrence which takes place in any training camp. But Liambas' situation was - and remains - anything but ordinary.
According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, the Chicago Blackhawks have traded forwards Dustin Byfgulien and Ben Eager along with defenseman Brent Sopel and prospect Akim Aliu [more…]
It has a nice ring to it when you take into consideration he was eliminated in the second-round by his ex-team, the Kitchener Rangers. Kadri compiled an impressive 9 goals and 27 points in 12 playoff games, giving him the highest points-per-game average among playoff competitors during the 2010 OHL post-season.
However, that doesn't mean his future in the National Hockey League for next season is solidified. Not even close, actually. Fact remains that plenty of promising prospects have fell by the wayside and spoiled untapped potential, and that the manner in which an NHL club handles the transition of a prospect into the big leagues remains of paramount importance in the successful development of a promising up-and-comer into a consistent NHL contributor, especially in a hotbed like Toronto.
For his part, Kadri makes his playoff exit as the OHL's post-season scoring leader with a remarkable 9 goals and 18 assists in 12 games.
The Kitchener Rangers will now move on to face the defending-champ Windsor Spitfires, whose own lineup features a couple of Leafs' prospects: forwards Dale Mitchell and Kenny Ryan (pictured).
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Since last Friday, Michael Liambas of the Erie Otters has awaited the league's decision on his hit to Kitchener Rangers defenseman Ben Fanelli. Today, the OHL has come down hard on Liambas, suspending him for the regular season and playoffs, thus ending his OHL career.
It's a hit no one ever wants to happen. It's the type of collision in which there was no intent to injure, and still a player is left in an unfortunate state. It's the hit that has left Ben Fanelli in a critical but stable state in the hospital with skull and facial fractures, and Mike Liambas at home deeply depressed and feeling awful over the game he loves.