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Los Angeles

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of three teams without a shutout this season. They have been shutout four times, allowing 15 goals. They’ve scored 98 goals in wins and a paltry 12 in losses. Of the 44 goals they’ve allowed in losses, 15 come by way of shutouts.

    The latest takes on it’s infamy as the record-breaking shutout by a most deserving, Martin Brodeur.

    The New Jersey Devils are one of five teams that have not been shutout this season. Brodeur’s three shutouts for the Devils this season set up and then smashed the all time shutout record.

    In honour of the new shutout record at 104 – and counting – the following are the to-date shutouts and numbers in the NHL in 2009-10.

      81

      The Toronto Maple Leafs are now back from Chicago to host the Calgary Flames at the ACC in Toronto. Jonas Gustavsson is expected to get the start tonight, but Vesa Toskala must be credited with his strongest performance of the season.

        894

        The Rangers are riding a 4 game win streak, the Leafs are not. The Rangers have a goal differential of +8 in their last 4 games, the Leafs have a goal differential of -6 in their last 3 games. The Rangers are 5th in the league on the PK (88%), while the Leafs are last (53.8%). The Rangers are 4th in the league for goals against per game (2.00). The Leafs are tied in last place with Florida at 4.25.

          714

          It’s been the story of the summer in Toronto, the one that just will not go away.  

          What will the Maple Leafs do with Tomas Kaberle?   Will they trade him this offseason?  Will they keep him hoping his play on an improved team will up the demand for him?   Or will they keep him with the intention of building around him?

            271

            Trade rumours are flying rampant around Leafs Nation, some centered around specific Leafs’ players, some centered around specific players on other teams, and some centered around the idea of salary dumps.

            Rather than speculating the rumour mill this morning, let’s take a little break from that and have some fun with this instead.   Let’s play “GM For A Day”.

            515

            Excitement abounds these days in the streets of Toronto, as a long-overdue rebuilding effort for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the prospect of a revitalized franchise, moves into high gear.

            Arguably the last successful revitalization of the Maple Leafs franchise occurred in the early 1990s, when in the span of three seasons the Leafs went from basement-dwellers to Stanley Cup contenders.  Although many are quick to credit then-GM Cliff Fletcher’s 1992 mega-deal with the Calgary Flames as the key turning point for the franchise, the groundwork for the franchise’s rapid acceleration from pretender to contender actually began much earlier … in the 1989-90 season, to be exact.

              18

              On a night where the stars were aligned for the first-pick lottery, where a Leafs loss coupled with Phoenix and Los Angeles wins would give the Leafs a chance at the #1 pick overall, a night where Phoenix and LA both did their part … the Maple Leafs took the high road and won the game.

              The end result is Toronto finishes with the 7th pick in the draft, entering this week’s lottery draw.

                152

                Normally, you would figure that game # 82 on a team’s docket, in a season where that team has been eliminated from playoff contention, would be rather meaningless.   Normally, you would expect it to be nothing more than perhaps an opportunity to give young players a bit of NHL experience before hitting the greens.

                But when is normal ever the norm in Toronto?   Somehow, tonight’s season-closing game is still meaningful to the final outcome of the Leafs’ season … as are the final games for the LA Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes, which will be played late this afternoon and tonight.

                  419

                  With Files from Gil Brown

                  Brian Burke doesn’t take credit for the Maple Leafs drafting Luke Schenn 5th overall in 2008, but he’s sure glad they did.  Under different circumstances, which we’ll get into over a series of posts, Burke’s Ducks would have been in the mix for the Saskatoon native at the 2008 draft.

                  Fortune shined on the blue and white allowing them to trade up to 5th overall pick.  There was an associated cost from their original seventh spot, but the end result is a potential future Maple Leafs captain of the Scott Stevens mold.

                  Unbelievable as it seems; perhaps, even laughable, Schenn, could have been wearing Ducks colors.

                  The story doesn’t begin in Anaheim, however.  It starts in Edmonton.

                    388

                    A quick look at the NHL standings reveals that with 11 games remaining, the Toronto Maple Leafs have not yet been mathematically eliminated from either the playoffs, or last place overall.

                    A numerical analysis reveals something even more interesting.  Mathematically-speaking, the Maple Leafs are leading the race for the 6th overall pick in the draft.

                      67

                      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).   To quote the great Chazz Palminteri, “a rumour’s not a rumour that doesn’t die”.

                        15

                        Just six months ago many a grapevine was carrying rumor of NHL expansion while I lamented the integrity of a revenue bound salary cap. Even into the new season few had foreseen the sheer gravity of the global economic downturn and its impact on jobs, housing, businesses and every facet of life down to sport. Now as international markets stutter into a depression that many an analyst believe could change the face of modern capitalism forever, the NHL seems to remain steadfast in addressing it’s minor successes as opposed to it’s crippling and potentially devastating financial model.

                          27

                          Trade talks are heating up, in the NHL rumour mills, and online forums.  To that end, I’ve compiled a list of notable free-agents to be, both UFA and RFA, across the league, who may be subject to trade.

                            14

                            Sorry for the delay guys.  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.

                            2

                            *Update: Cliff Fletcher just reported to me via e-mail that getting Luke Schenn under contract is “not necessarily” his next focus.

                            Two more highly-coveted young defenseman out of the 2008 draft class – Alex Pietrangelo (4th overall) and Zach Bogosian (3rd overall) – have been inked to entry level deals by their respective teams today. Los Angeles’ second overall pick Drew Doughty put pen to paper back in late August.

                            Cliff Fletcher’s inference earlier in the summer was that he was waiting to evaluate the contracts of the other defensemen in the top half of Luke Schenn’s draft class before proceeding to sign the Kelowna Rockets rearguard. With salary and performance bonuses now counting towards a player’s cap figure under new NHL legislation, teams must be fastidious when constructing bonus structures.

                            One through four are locked up, five is on the clock.