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L.A.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs will host their rookie tournament this year in London, Ontario from September 11th to the 14th, and Maple Leafs Hot Stove will have unprecedented, wall-to-wall coverage of the event.

Join us here for live game blogs, game previews, game reviews, exclusive interviews, and more!  Today, we will look at the top ten Leafs players who will be worth paying extra close attention to at this weekend’s event.

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A former Leaf is about to sign with Los Angeles, as Alexei Ponikarovsky has agreed to join the Kings (although a deal has not yet been signed).  This ends some speculation that “Poni” would have to take his games overseas, as this summers UFA market has seen a lot of viable NHL players still without a job.  Ponikarovsky was shipped to the Penguins by Toronto at this year’s trade deadline, bringing back Luca Caputi in what was a very fair exchange of players.  However, Pittsburgh was expecting the Ukrainian to contribute at the level that saw him pour out 61 points for the Leafs in 2008-2009.  With a disappointing 9 points down the stretch for the recent champs and an awful showing in the playoffs, teams weren’t exactly lining up to sign the 30-year old.

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It’s around 2PM eastern time, meaning National Hockey League GM’s are likely getting ready to juggle their BlackBerry’s while getting set to sit down for lunch at a local Los Angeles hot spot.  With the many fantastic views and atmosphere, it may be the last relaxing moment of the day for these GM’s.

And most wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Welcome to Maple Leafs Hot Stove’s official coverage of the 2010 NHL Entry draft.  Everyone here at the site will be working hard, monitoring stories and networking with people around us through the day to bring you the absolute latest as we get set for the NHL entry draft live from L.A. tonight.

Eric Duhatschek reports in the Globe and Mail last night that there are six firm offers for Kaberle, with more expected to come in as the day progresses.

The article also goes on to state that though everyone is focused on the Kaberle sweepstakes, Burke did admit to having a few others things perhaps in the works, though he obviously declined to talk names.

Duhatschek also reports that Blackhawks winger Andrew Ladd may be a potential target for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Stay tuned to Maple Leafs Hot Stove all day for the absolute latest on the NHL Entry Draft

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    Good morning, die hards, and welcome to Hockey Christmas. And what better way to kick off the day than with more rumors! Here we go!

    McKenzie: I won't be overly surprised if Ray Whitney doesn't get traded. If he does, I suspect it will be to L.A. but final call on that will be his. Anything possible today, but Tomas Kaberle has not submitted list of teams he would go to. If Leafs get good offer, they may take it to him. And Kaberle has expressed no desire to leave Toronto. He'll take his chances in the summer when NTC expires.

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      This involves the Leafs, as well as around the league.
      TFP: The Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators are among the teams to have serious interest in Alexei Ponikarovsky. Various reports suggest the Leafs are looking for a first-round pick in exchange for Ponikarovsky, though it’s believed Burke is willing to accept a second-round pick and a top prospect.”
      5:00 PM Update – Mueller, Roloson, Hamhuis, Voros/Lisin.

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        Alec has asked me to add my two cents hereabouts from time to time, and I’ve agreed to do so with some trepidation.  For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Junior, from Heroes in Rehab: the blog.  I don’t want to step on the toes of any of the other contributors on the site, so I want to contribute something a little different from the others.  What follows is, at it turns out, a bit of a (lengthy, sorry about that) manifesto for what I hope to produce in the coming weeks for you all.  Some of it’s even about hockey and the Leafs!  I don’t really see my self as the Stuart Smalley of Leafs Nation, and the affirmations I offer will be far from daily, but…well, just read, won’t you?

        stuart_smalley

        We're Good Enough, We're Smart Enough and Gosh Darn it People Like Us.

        One lousy heart-stopping, craptastic win-that-almost-wasn’t against the Thrashers Predators (update: oops, thanks Nights, I’m an idiot.  Stupid interchangeable southeastern teams!).  One crummy “W” from a five game road trip through the Southeast, the division where NHL hockey goes to die.  The Maple Leafs can’t be happy with the way that worked out.  When the trip began ten days ago, it seemed obvious that the Leafs were expecting to get pasted by Ovechkin and the Caps (first clue: starting Vesa Toskala); after getting the better of Bruce Boudreau’s squad a couple of times earlier this year, it was essentially a foregone conclusion that the Blue & White would have the least amount of fun in a DC amphitheatre since Abraham Lincoln, and that’s exactly how it worked out.  But they had to be hoping for more out of matches against Dixie’s puck-playing tomato cans: Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa and Florida.

        Of course we know now that it didn’t work out that way.  Much to the chagrin of the local populace, Ron Wilson, Brian Burke and the team have arrived home with only two points to declare at Customs.  As far as road trip expectations go, this is the equivalent of a “buddies road trip to Vegas” turning into “an insurance seminar in Peoria.”

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          There’s nothing like an 0-6-1 start to push the rumour mill into full swing.     The following is a quick rundown of some of the talk working its way through the grapevine.

          As always, this is only talk — as in, players rumoured to be under consideration, not deals that are on the brink of consummation.  Take it for what it is.

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            The latest from a trusted source:

            “Burke may have been playing possum in order to move up to get Duchene when he was saying he wanted Tavares but no one is indulging him….