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Kicking off the first of two divisional gamesÂ on consecutive nights, the Toronto Maple Leafs traveled a short trip down theÂ QEW to take on the Buffalo Sabres at theÂ HSBC Arena in the second of six meetings between the two teams. After tonight’s 3-1 victory, the Sabres now holdÂ a 2-0 record against the Leafs followingÂ a 3-2 shootoutÂ decision on Nov. 6 in Toronto.
During most of Monday’s victory over the Dallas Stars, The Leafs controlled the play on both sides of the ice, and looked to build on that momentum as they searched for their second road win in 6 games. In fact, not since Oct. 15 have the Leafs been able to find the win columnÂ while playing away from the Air Canada Centre. If that trend is to change, the offense needs to be a factor and become involved rather quickly, especially against a Buffalo Sabres team who is struggling at home. Although it is the obvious intention, Leaf forward and former Sabre, Clarke MacArthur believes the key to his team’s success was to open the scoring early and build from there.
Day Two of on-ice participation is now in the books .. the sessions all had a purpose, as camp not only winds down, but clear decisions need to be made on who will remain with the main roster and who will be going to the Marlies or back to their original junior team.
A breakdown of the drills and more observations from the intra squad game after the jump.
Sunday Training Camp Day 2 practice
Teams A and B practiced with Team A on the main ice. (Breakdown of teams is here.
The drills weren’t very different from the previous days, they all focused on a real-game situation and the coaching staff made variations along the way.
Bring On Training Camp!
The Toronto Maple Leafs held their on-ice portion of training camp today. Players have been split into three squads to accommodate the 63 players invited to camp.
Among the contingent of fans outside the ice surface at the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence was a throng of media and of course, Leafs staff.
A quick note:
I’ll be attending the on-ice portions of training camp on the weekend. I’ll do a blog about the day that will be a little different from the traditional coverage. If you want to know what Grabovski said, or how Kaberle felt … well, there’s other outlets for that. Here, I’m hoping to provide a different outlook of the camp that doesn’t get touched upon by traditional coverage.
Alex and I will once again continue the Young Guns prospect draft. We are drafting:
6 9 forwards, 4 defensemen, 1 goaltender
Total of 22 young players with a birthday year no later than 1986 (24 yrs old max)
Contract status and/or cap hit will not be taken into account
The draft will take place live in the comments section for all readers to follow, so be sure to come out and provide your two cents as it happens. More details after the jump.
Join us in the comments as Alex Tran and I go head-to-head carving up the Leafs youth.
(Note**) – for the record I will be making the picks for each of us as Alex is
boozing busting loose at some bar. I asked him if he was drunk, he said no, but his picks will tell show us the truth.
Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager, Brian Burke should have uttered one phrase to explain the situation, one simple little phrase to envelope the reasoning for the Phil Kessel trade;
â€œOur picks in our vision of where we ended up are overvalued in accordance to the available crop of prospects.â€
But in Toronto, to admit that in whatâ€™s deemed as a â€˜rebuildâ€™ would have been a PR disaster.
Despite popular opinion, he wasnâ€™t wrong.
The world is no longer flat, itâ€™s round .. like a full-cirle
McKeen's Hockey Annual Yearbook
It’s been quite the time span since my last post here. But as many of you know, I’ve been working on the McKeen’s Hockey Annual Yearbook. That is in addition to the work on the player profiles for the Maple Leafs Annual.
So to kick things off, and to change the subject from Tomas Kaberle, here are my player predictions for the Maple Leafs this season after the jump.
(NOTE*** Predictions appearing the McKeen’s Annual Yearbook are decided as a collective from many different sources. These values will unlikely appear as they indicated below in the publication.)
On the eve of unrestricted free agency, the Maple Leafs made a big first move to upgrade their forward group. According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the club has swung a deal to acquire Blackhawks winger Kris Versteeg and prospect Billy Sweatt in exchange for winger Viktor Stalberg, along with forward prospects Chris Didomenico and Philipe Paradis.
Versteeg, still just 24 years of age, will instantly become a big component of the Maple Leafs’ core moving forward. He has two seasons of 20+ goals under his belt already, and is under contract for two more years at $3.08 million per season.
Meanwhile, Sweatt, the Blackhawks’ 2007 2nd round pick, was ranked as the 7th best prospect in the Chicago farm system by Hockey’s Future. He is described as a talented two-way player with top end speed and finishing ability on the rush. By all accounts, Sweatt is also an excellent defensive player and effective penalty killer, which should ease the pain of losing Paradis.
I’ve been holding off on posting one of these, as the sheer volume of Toronto-borne speculation renders separating the plausible from the impossible a rather difficult task.
Without further ado, here we go:
- There is no guarantee that Tomas Kaberle is traded this weekend. Sources say the chance that he could remains a member of the Maple Leafs beyond the Draft is increasing by the day.Â The reason?Â “Burke wants a player who can step in and play right away. He wants to win now, and is far less concerned about getting draft picks than he is about getting an impact forward.”
Leafs prospect, Mikhail Stefanovich was quoted in an interview on the internet site of Belarussian newspaper, ‘Sports Panorma’ about his relationship with Patrick Roy, the Canadian lifestyle contrast and commentary on the people of Quebec City … the article also mentions his favorite NHL team, which isn’t the Maple Leafs.
This week’s prospect was referred to as an integral part of the deal that brought in Dion Phaneuf and Fredrik Sjostrom, while jettisoning Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Ian White and Jamal Mayers to the Calgary Flames.
The former gold medal winning defensman with the 2009 World Junior Championships squad injured his shoulder shortly after the deal.
We had to bump the Tuesday Prospect Report, but here it is … this week, its a player that confirmed his signing right here on Maple Leafs Hot Stove, Tyler Bozak. Once again, always great work from Bloge Salming. Enjoy.
For related Tyler Bozak reading, check out Junior`s `Good News`post about the 23 year old.
I absolutely love playing golf. There are days â€“ many, many days â€“ all I want to do is golf.
Might be some Leaf fans that share my love. Some fans are forced into golf due to the lack of playoffs.
Ahh, the playoffs .. but a memory. What better way to understand or reacquaint with the postseason than by using an example too many Leafs fans know.
Ah, sports media coverage in Toronto. Don’t ever change.
According to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, Tomas Kaberle is unhappy with Leafs head coach Ron Wilson. Naturally, this has sparked a flurry of speculation, debate, and blame-placing where – if the player is to be believed – there may be none necessary to begin with.
Ever since the Leafs’ late-offseason acquisition of Phil Kessel, his performance has been (understandably) heavily-scrutinized in the face of the hefty amount of futures given up to secure the extremely talented winger.
Kessel’s season has, in some ways, mirrored that of his teammates, with periods of great productivity followed by periods of near-invisibility. However, considering a host of issues which seemingly stood in the way of a productive season, including significant shoulder surgery, causing him to miss out on training camp, and the lack of talent surrounding him, the Leafs’ young sniper has produced at a rate which, in the context of the aforementioned factors, is actually quite impressive.
Maple Leaf prospect Matt Frattin is drawing plenty of headlines this summer… but unfortunately, it’s for the wrong reasons. For the second time this summer, the University of North Dakota forward was arrested by local police, and this latest incident resulted in Frattin’s dismissal from the school’s men’s hockey program.
Now that the 2008-09 regular season has officially ended, it’s time to take a look back over the roster to assess each of the Maple Leafs’ players.
Note that I’m only including players who finished the season with at least one game played for the Maple Leafs, and am excluding those traded away during the course of the season.
Statistics for those who were acquired mid-season reflect games played as members of the Maple Leafs only.
In a shaky and at times sloppy game, the Leafs pulled out of yet another overtime with a shootout win.Â Vesa Toskala had a night in net that was a simple summary of his season to date: solid at times, with glaring weaknesses and questionable play marring his effort as a whole.Â Nonetheless, in a tilt that saw another Leaf rookie debut and a season stalwart leave the game with an injury, Toronto ironically secured two points against one of the very teams that many “tank-minded” fans badly want to see move up in the standings.
After chasing down the Pittsburgh Penguins, making a substantial offer for a failing market team, and whispers of supporting the Buffalo Sabres, it looks as if Jim Balsillie may in fact receive the green light on a new buzzing project in the greatest hockey market in the world.
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