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Rick Madonik/Toronto Star
The Toronto Maple Leafs kick off a brief tour of the Sunshine State when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight before taking on the Florida Panthers tomorrow. Unfortunately for both clubs, their offensive capabilities have been absent from the hockey party as of late and each are on a losing streak (Leafs – 5 games, Lightning – 3 games). Tampa Bay has only scored four goals in their last three games, while the Leafs have recently put together a pair of shootout losses and have 8 goals in their last three games but have been unable to play a solid full 60 minutes to earn the victories. They will look to improve on that effort tonight.
Update: Enroth will start for Buffalo per Elliotte Friedman; he was pulled after one period in his only appearance this season after conceding 3 goals on 12 shots against Boston on Wednesday. Here’s hoping for a repeat performance.
Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs return home to host the Buffalo Sabres. After a thrilling come-from-behind shootout loss to the NHL’s offensive juggernauts – Washington Capitals – Toronto seems to be heading back into the right direction. The Buffalo Sabres, on the other hand, are sporting the league’s worst record and riding a three game losing streak. They are also coming off a loss against the Habs last night, so the Leafs certainly have an edge rest-wise heading into this one. The worry does remain that the Sabres have matched up really well against the Leafs in recent times (winning ten of their last eleven against the Buds), but these seem to be two different teams since the onset of the 2010-11 campaign.
It took the Leafs nearly 168 minutes to earn their first goal in three games in last night’s loss to the Ottawa Senators. It has been the story of the team in terms of points production as the club lost its fifth game in their last six outings. That said, the drive and scoring chances the team has created for themselves during that time made most of those games “close ones”. Tonight, with scoring hopefully back on their side, the .500 Leafs hope to erase their current three game losing streak by conquering the Capitals.
Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs will play host to the Ottawa Senators at the ACC in a game that could be a nail biter for all the wrong reasons. For fans who are looking for a tight game, the Leafs have provided endless periods of “so close!” The Senators? They seem to be running down a similar path, despite blowing out two of their opponents last week with five goals for in each game (vs. Panthers and Coyotes). Unfortunately, they are coming off a shutout loss to the Bruins (surprise) and if they had not put up 10 goals in two games last week, their goals for totals (26) would tell the true tale of two cities who simply cannot score.
For the third time this season (and this month) the New York Rangers will clash with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In their first two meetings (4-3 OT win Leafs / 2-1 win Rangers), each have conquered the other on the road. Toronto will look to avoid recent history repeating by earning the victory in this match-up at home, and someone will be sporting pink skates.
Update: John Mitchell will step in for Kris Versteeg on the second line, who can’t go tonight due to a sore back. Should be interesting to see if Mitchell can bring some size and forecheck/board play ability to that line. Mike Zigomanis will line up at fourth line centre.
Are the Maple Leafs’ winning ways back in front of them? Has their controversial victory over the Florida Panthers moved the club back into a mean streak? The scoring is certainly present for forward Phil Kessel, but the Leafs still need to stay aggressive in the offensive zone. Tonight, they’ll face their biggest challenge (in goal) as Tim Thomas leads the league in both goals against average (0.75) and save percentage (0.978). Thomas has yet to lose a game this season and the Leafs will hope to put a dent in that stat in particular. Thomas has played a large part of it (he’s undefeated at 4-0 whereas Rask is 0-2 so far) but the Bruins’ stingy defence boasts the lowest goals against per game total (1.83) in the league six games into the season.
Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs will play host to the New York Islanders as they search for the fifth straight win to open the season. The Islanders are searching for their first road win of the season and hope to earn it tonight by crashing the Leafs’ winning party. The Leafs’ fifth win of the season last year came November 23rd and was accompanied by eighteen losses in regulation and overtime. J.S. Giguere is back between the posts while Brett Lebda sees his first action of the regular season in place of the shaky Carl Gunnarsson.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are set to visit the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at the Consol Energy Arena. The Penguins have yet to win at home this season and get another opportunity to erase that stat tonight against a Leafs team that is hoping to remain undefeated. Jonas Gustavsson will get his first start between the pipes according to Sportsnet.
Darcy Tucker has officially called it a career. “After spending the whole summer anticipating I would play, it got to a point where I knew it was time.”
“I just knew, during workouts I didn’t have that same feeling,” Tucker told TSN, “and I needed to be fair with my family.”
Image c/o J.P. Nikota / PensionPlanPuppets.com
“Being a kid growing up just outside Toronto, you always want to play for your team you watched growing up, and Toronto’s my team.”
It was one of the last things Andrew Engelage said after a lengthy discussion at the Ricoh Coliseum, but it definitely resonated the loudest.
There’s nothing quite like the story of the home-grown athlete. Everyone likes asking Oakville’s John Mitchell what it’s like to put on the Leafs sweater every day, or trying to find some way to relate to Jesse Blacker’s being drafted by his local club. But when adversity is thrown into the mix, when a player has to go through some degree of hardship to make it to not only the level he wants to be, but for the team he wants to play for, that’s when a story becomes a best seller.
As you all know, or may not know, Tomas Kaberle will remain a Toronto Maple Leafs. Whether he is still a Maple Leaf beyond this season is another question all together, and likely a long and awfully boring road. Regardless, here is Brian Burke’s statement:
The hockey club confirms this evening that Tomas Kaberle remains a Leaf. While a number of Clubs made offers to trade for Tomas, none of them reflected Tomas’s value to our team. I understand a period like this is stressful to the player, and we are pleased that there is a resolution, and we can all continue to prepare for the coming season.
Brian Burke stated this morning, “if these offers are all we get, he is staying put,” in regards to the Tomas Kaberle trade watch. It has put many fans on their heels as they await a trade, but it should be known that this statement could be nothing more than a trade tactic.
The Tomas Kaberle trade watch is now in effect with only 36 hours to go until this situation concludes. The rumor mill is running rampant with some high profile names and some future fan favorites, but let's dive into who is being mentioned as possible blue and white sweater bearers.
$12.99, 128 pages, no ads, all Leafs.
The Maple Street Press Maple Leafs Annual is back for it’s second edition, jam packed with even more Leafs coverage, analysis and inside access than the year before. Preorders will ship on August 17 and include a $5.00 shipping charge. Yes, Kaberle remained a Leaf by the final deadline, because apparently it was just SO out of the way for Burke to deal him at our convenience. It matters not, just read some of these highlights:
Detailed player by player scouting information, advanced statistics and innovative statistical graphics for the 2010-11 roster
An interview with GM Brian Burke on change and the outlook for 2010-11
A look at the controversial legacy of 1960s Leafs head coach Punch Imlach, with reflections from Leaf greats Johnny Bower, Red Kelly, Dick Duff, Larry Hillman & more
A position by position look at the 2010-11 Leafs roster
The inside scoop on the Leafs’ 2010 off-season additions, organizational philosophy and evaluation with Leafs Vice President of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin
A review of the 2010 draft with the perspective of Leafs head scout Dave Morrison
Statistical analysis of the importance of first round picks: can the Leafs go their own way?
Analysis of the Leafs’ cap situation with looks at the constitution of past Cup winners
A Nazem Kadri feature (including thoughts from Morrison and director of player development Jim Hughes) & list of the Leafs’ Top Prospects in Fall 2010 & Darkhorses
An interview with potential sixth round steal Jerry D’Amigo
- An in-depth look at the Marlies’ season that was and will be with thoughts from head coach Dallas Eakins, Poulin, Jay Rosehill and Tim Brent
- Projections for the Leafs offense and defense
- An in-depth, goalie-by-goalie scouting evaluation of Leaf netminders (Gustavsson, Giguere, Scrivens, Reimer, Rynnas) with The Goalie Guild’s Justin Goldman
- Takes on how new media is changing coverage of the team with thoughts from MLSE social media strategist Jonathan Sinden
Ensure yourself a copy of the Maple Leafs Annual here. Take the jump for a full list of authors – the best of the best from across the Barilkosphere and beyond.
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 â€“ speed, talent and scoring â€“ along with attributes that are harder to judge â€“ 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.
The Toronto Star continues to shine a light on the Kaberle front. According to Brian Burke, he has “four concrete offers” on the table and seems to be rather confident he can land a first round pick. That said, the Toronto Sun suggest that of the six teams interested in Kaberle’s services, the Ducks have expressed the strongest interest.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Leafs vice president of hockey operations Dave Nonis is on the verge of agreeing to terms with the organization on a contract extension that will see him stay in Toronto at least through the 2011-2012 season.
For the last several weeks, it’s been rumored that Nonis was among the top candidates on the shortlist for Tampa Bay’s vacant GM position, but he has now apparently pulled out of the running. Looks like Brian Burke gets to keep his right hand man for the foreseeable future. Nice signing.
The news that the Tampa Bay Lightning have Dave Nonis at the top of their shortlist for general manager candidates was perhaps an instance of the inevitable. If Tampa or Nonis deem it not a right fit, we can only expect more of the same from other owners looking to fill vacant general manager positions.
It was reported at the time of Nonis’ signing that a one-year clause was included to assure Nonis’ services belonged to the Leafs for 2009-10 at a minimum. When Nonis’ contractual obligation ends is unclear, but from Joe Nieuwendyk to Steffan Kronwall to Justin Pogge, it’s clear Burke will never step in the way of an employee’s desire to advance professionally.
But not all hope is lost. First, let’s look at what the Leafs have in Nonis, and hopefully what they don’t end up losing.
With the final bell about to ring season most fans would be happy to forget – although the impending draft all but dictates they most assuredly will not – the Maple Leafs will officially enter the offseason five campaigns removed from the playoffs at the conclusion of Saturday night’s game in Montreal.
Unlike previous years, however, this season has revealed to fans — amidst the rubble of far too many losses — a silver lining of sorts: the promise of youth.
Note: If you crave insightful, indepth Leafs’ analysis, I highly encourage you to read RSW’s excellent article on Victor Stalberg.
This past Saturday, Brian Burke was a guest on “Leafs Lunch” (am 640) and spoke at length about the status of injured defenseman Mike Van Ryn.
Van Ryn, as you know, underwent career-threatening surgery as a result of a structural anomaly in his left knee.Â The surgery, an osteotomy (known throughout hockey circles as “Steve Yzerman surgery”), is a complex procedure in which the knee is realigned via the removal of part of the bone.Â Van Ryn has since resumed skating, but whether or not he will be able to resume his NHL career remains, at this point, unknown.
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