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Northeast Division

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I have been listening and watching Toronto media members discuss the Maple Leafs and am honestly beyond annoyed at their commentary and observations around the Leafs performance since the trade deadline.  I am not even certain if this is “blog worthy” (shameless “sponge worthy” reference), but I have officially reached my “B.S.” tolerance threshold.

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    Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs hope to rebound from their loss to the Panthers with a win tonight against another team they must steal points from – the Atlanta Thrashers. The Leafs continue their quest to remove themselves from the bottom five in the third of four meetings with Atlanta this season.

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    I know, I know, when last we met, I promised you that the next installment in these studies in positivity would focus on Nikolai Kulemin.

    Well, I lied.  Sue me.  Instead of discussing an individual player, I’m going to make some more general team-wide observations.  Don’t like it?  Line up at window 106 between the hours of 1 and 1:05 p.m., fill out the forms in triplicate, be sure to bring your receipt and three forms of photo I.D. and  the counter staff will be happy to refund in full the money you paid for these charming and entertaining visits to my mind.  Really, though, following Bruce Boudreau’s logic concerning the Ovechkin hit on Brian Campbell (and the obvious liability of the end boards and equally obvious innocence of Ovie), it’s not my fault that I broke my promise to you;  it’s your fault for reading that promise in the first place.

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      It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means .. it’s Tuesday Prospect Report brought to you by the talented Bloge Salming.

      This week’s feature is on a player most already have some sort of inkling about, Carl Gunnarsson.

      Take a moment to let us know how you are enjoying these reports. Leave a comment here, or on the Bloge Salming site (and make sure you check out the array of various videos.)

      Gus Katsaros

      katshockey [at] mapleleafshotstove.com
      twitter.com/@KatsHockey

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        Tonight, the Buds and Habs are set to battle it out and put their win streaks on the line. The Leafs are 5-1-0 in their last 6 outings, while the Canadiens are riding an impressive 6 game string of victories. With Toronto now over 0.500 at home (15-14-5), they are looking to play the role of heartbreakers this season, and what better way to continue doing so then by throwing a big fat L at Montreal tonight?

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          Submitted by Michael Stephens (a.k.a. Baumgartner)

          The Toronto Maple Leafs have the League’s worst penalty kill, sporting a 73.0% success rate. They have been shorthanded 252 times this season, surrendering 68 goals. Through 71 games this season, they average 3.5 penalties (252ts/71gp) each night.

          Around January 15th, this vaunted penalty kill was even worse, an abysmal 68.9%. Ron Wilson was smugly talking about how he had to teach his boys how to flip the puck down the ice and out of the zone.

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            In case you missed tonight’s shootout (or just want to watch it again), watch three Leafs shooters make Danis look pathetic, while Parise burns Giguere for the only shootout goal the Devils could manage:

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              For the sixth and final time this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs will face their rivals, the Ottawa Senators, this time in enemy territory at Scotiabank Place.

              Tonight’s game will close out the season series between the two teams. The series currently stands at 3-2 in favor of the Leafs, who have won their past three against the Senators.

              The Leafs are coming off Sunday’s loss to the New York Islanders in which the players appeared completely spent (5 games in 8 days, culminating in back to back games, will have a negative effect on any club).  However, prior to that debacle, Toronto had won three in a row on merits of effort-laden, energetic play.  With a much-needed day off under their belts, the players will look to return to their winning ways with a strong effort against their bitter provincial rivals.

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                As the playoff hopes gradually continue to fade for even the most optimistic of fans, the focal point of the Maple Leafs over the last few weeks has been on the stellar play of several key young players. Bozak, Kulemin and Kessel have been dynamic and dangerous in spurts as the team’s first line, building chemistry together and showing real signs of promise. Caputi, Hanson and Stalberg are giving indications that they could be part of a solid supporting cast someday, with strong board play, good size and tenacity in chasing down loose pucks. On the back end, Gunnarsson has been nothing short of a tremendous surprise, coming in mid-year as a 23 year old rookie, but playing with the poise of a 10-year veteran in over 21 minutes a night. But today, the focus will be on the more subtle progression of a another young blueliner who is reminding Toronto fans why the team took him with its highest draft selection in 20 years.

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                  The Toronto Maple Leafs continue their homestand tonight against the visiting Oilers, in a game that marks former Leafs’ coach Pat Quinn’s return to the Air Canada Centre.

                  The Oilers have had a disappointing season, to say the least, and are the leading contenders for the Hall/Seguin sweepstakes this summer. Edmonton fans are salivating at the thought of Taylor Hall one day lining up alongside Canadian Junior team hero Jordan Eberle, wearing copper and blue.

                  For the time being, however, the Oilers are a team in the midst of yet another rebuilding phase, a process with which Leafs’ fans can certainly relate. In many ways, the two teams are quite similar: inconsistent youth, underachieving veterans, untimely injuries and weak goaltending have plagued both rosters throughout the season. The Leafs look to have begun the process of righting the ship; the Oilers will look to make similar moves (purging of veteran contracts in favor of youthful exuberance) during the summer.

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                    First and foremost, let me apologize for my absence.  As some of you may know, I am in school completing my Sports Marketing degree, and things have gotten really hectic in crunch time.  I am also organizing a golf tournament for this summer in Strathroy, Ontario.  Anyone who would like to golf can get in touch with me anytime.

                    You know, another season of hockey is winding down.  At least, it is in Toronto with the Maple Leafs.  While the sun has been shining and treating us to above average weather the past week or so, it does come at a price.


                    It has become all to accustomed.  As soon as the sun begins to melt the snow, and the grey, dull sky is replaced by a ray of sunlight, you know that the Maple Leafs aren’t long for this world.  That the season is just about wrapped up, and lockers will soon be cleaned.

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                      Just some quick thoughts after the Maple Leafs’ 4-3 overtime win over the Bruins:

                      Assist for Phil Kessel is his first point in 5 games against his old team

                      Bozak continues to progress

                      Carl Gunnarsson had another solid game with a goal and a +3 rating

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                        Before we get to the T-Rex, make sure to stop by Maple Leafs Hot Stove Tuesday night.

                        I will be live blogging the Leafs/Bruins game from the press box at the Air Canada Centre.

                        Stop by, bring the funny and join us for a good time. Boston will be without Marc Savard after the devastating headshot from Matt Cooke, and the Bruins have had scoring woes all season long. Will this be the game Phil Kessel finally get his first point against his former team?

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                          Fresh off last night’s hard-hitting victory over the Ottawa Senators, the Maple Leafs face another physical game tonight as they visit the Philadelphia Flyers.

                          Tonight’s game will be the fourth in six nights for a Toronto squad which has undergone some significant changes in the past week. The Leafs will enter the game physically tired, but mentally inspired following Saturday’s victory over Ottawa and a terrific effort in a shootout loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

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                            Luca Caputi makes his Maple Leaf debut tonight as Toronto visits Boston to battle it out with the Bruins. Seidenberg will suit up for the Bruins who are still aiming to remain in the playoffs despite injury woes and a lack of ability to land an elite scoring winger for Marc Savard. The quest to get out of the bottom five continues for the Leafs tonight.

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                              With the Olympics wrapping up (and in the process Canada securing the record for most gold medals, capped off by our Men’s and Women’s hockey teams), the focus among hockey fans now shifts to the NHL trade deadline.

                              While there are few untouchables on the Maple Leafs’ roster, speculation is that only a handful of players are likely to be dealt between Monday and Wednesday. Here’s a look at some of the speculation surrounding the most-talked about candidates to swap jerseys.

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                                The Toronto Maple Leafs visit the St. Louis Blues tonight, in the Leafs’ final game prior to the NHL’s Olympic break.

                                The Leafs are coming off a narrow loss to the West-leading San Jose Sharks, a game which left the team with much to feel good about.  Tonight, the team will look to resolve their road woes and enter the break on a high note, by capitalizing on what has been an inconsistent and underachieving Blues squad.

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                                  Two Leafs players have food poisoning, so Nazem Kadri is an emergency call up for tonight’s game. No word as of what line he will be playing on just yet, but one thing is for sure: this will be an interesting sneak peak at what Kadri and Kessel could bring to the club next season.

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                                    While the attention isn’t on the Leafs tonight, they will be looking to break the Senators longest winning streak in club history. Giguere is expected to get the nod tonight, and hopefully the Leafs can start off strong with great offensive pressure as they have in their previous two outings, but this time close it off with solid defensive coverage in the third period.