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Tonight will be a Battle of Ontario, as the Toronto Maple Leafs travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators in a Northeast Division bout. Vesa Toskala will get the nod in goal for the Leafs, while Pascal Leclaire will get the start for the Sens.
Update: Brendan Shanahan Officially Retires.
This will be the first and only time these two teams will meet this season. Their last tilt took place on November 22, 2008 in Toronto where Chicago won the game 5-4 in overtime.
Note: Be sure to check out Alex Tran’s quick hits of the day!
It’s fairly obvious the Leafs are a team that wanders around looking for a win like men in a desert. Once they get close enough to civilization, it turns out to be a mirage.
Update: After careful deliberation, our very own Gus Katsaros was not only credited with his Kessel/Savard information, but he has been invited to appear on Hockey Central at Noon today during the show’s 2 hour timeslot beginning at 12:00 EST. More info inside.
The Leafs are set to visit the Anaheim Ducks as they continue to search for their first win of the season, and while one awkward stat is starting to creep up on them, it seems Gustavsson is ready, but possibly not completely game ready.
Joe Bowen checks in from Vancouver and discusses the current predicament for the Leafs in goal. Leafs brought four goaltenders with them to Vancouver. Brian Burke discusses his lack of interest if he meets with Gillis or not.
With very little good happening at the NHL level, it’s time to see how the kids are doing elsewhere. The Marlies dropped a 5-3 decision this afternoon against Rockford, falling to 2-1 on the young season. Jiri Tlusty scored a pair of goals, bringing his totals up to 3 goals and 4 points in 3 games played.
An interesting question was brought up by Dave Hodge yesterday morning on TSN’s The Reporters amid the Phil Kessel whirlwind that erupted over the weekend: if Peter Chiarelli wasn’t interested in matching an offer sheet at the dollar figure to which Burke eventually signed the 21-year-old, described by Sports Illustrated’s Michael Farber as “a one in 500 chance,” why didn’t Burke submit the offer sheet and pay but a third rounder instead of an additional first round draft selection? Farber seemed convinced not only that Chiarelli wouldn’t match but that Burke’s decision to go the trade route instead of offer sheet avenue was to save face, anticipating the charges of hypocrisy he would encounter linking back to his response to Kevin Lowe’s offer sheet submission for Dustin Penner that ultimately went unmatched while in Anaheim.
The Edmonton Oilers are said to be meeting face-to-face with disgruntled Ottawa Senators forward Dany Heatley tonight in a last-ditch attempt to convince him to accept their trade offer.
Update: Heatley putting trade on hold – again.
Newest goaltending consultant to the Leafs, Francois Allaire, father of the modern butterfly with exceptional credentials including working with Patrick Roy, Brian Hayward, as well as the guy who morphed Guy Hebert into an All Star in 1997 and J.S. Giguere. Most recently he worked with Ducks back up-turned-starter, Jonas Hiller to backstop the Ducks to a seven-game Round 2 of the 2008-09, Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Fine credentials indeed, but what can he do with the batch of Leafs goaltenders?
It has been reported that Patrick Roy, who has been hovering around Denver these last few days, has been offered the head coach position for the franchise. I know what youâ€™re thinking, â€œbut doesnâ€™t Tony Granato have that job?â€ No, not really. Heâ€™s been fired but everyone forgot to call him. Iâ€™m sure heâ€™ll figure it out when he opens the paper sometime in the next few days and reads that heâ€™s been replaced, unless heâ€™s somewhere hockey isnâ€™t mainstream. I hope he is, for his sake, because Day 1 of training camp would be awkward if no one bothers to let the poor sap know of his circumstance.
That brings us to the Worst Firings in Hockey History.
There’s the notion that signing Christian Hanson and Tyler Bozak and other College Free Agents allows the Buds to trade off other picks, perhaps even to move up in the draft.
The justification is having signed these free agent Collegians fills roster spots allowing them to maneuver around the draft, possibly even moving up to land a Hedman or Tavares at the number one or two spot.
(My take is forgetting either of them and draft Brampton Battalion forward, Matt Duchene, but thatâ€™s a blog for another day.)
On the implications of the Leafs’ recent turnaround:
“I’m proud of the guys, they’re working their butts off and that’s important for a lot of reasons; a lot of what we’re trying to build here and reward our fans and our season ticket holders. They’re important wins, and I know people are saying we’re messing up our draft choice but we’ll happily accept that; we’ll take that trade off any time. If I could make a deal – I said this last week, and I’ll say it again today – if I could make a deal today that would put us in the playoffs, I would do it, as long as it was consistent with our long-term strategy. Those type of deals right now are not being presented, so I don’t think it’s going to change our approach.”
Dale Mitchell (#71) – RW
Birthdate: April 9, 1989
Hometown: Mississauga, ON
There are a ton of rumors flying around on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Some a downright ridiculous and some may very well have merit. This is a close outlook on a few of those rumors and speculation. Weâ€™re under 2 months away from Hockey Christmas, where all the wonderful surprises of wanted and undesired gifts are passed around. A shopping list is what we all hope the Leafs are after, but sometimes thereâ€™s other plans that could be in place which may not seem so attractive at first. Consider that the following is merely speculation and rumors.
Coaches Corner maybe becoming increasingly irrelevant as the staunchly patriotic Don Cherry rambles about musings better suited to an age when every player was nicknamed â€œButchâ€ and that a Swede was something related to jokes about corners. But as Cherry provides the antithesis to contemporary hockey analysis I once more find myself agreeing with his misty eyed old school view of hockey in the wake of Don Sandersonâ€™s tragic death. Sure I may find a lot to fault Cherry with, but the way in which he handled Sandersonâ€™s passing was touching and unerringly appropriate at a time when fighting found itself once more centre stage for bandwagon discourse.
Months of uncertainty and speculation are likely to come to an end in the next week when Brian Burke and his associates meet with Richard Peddie and the MLSE. The groups have already spoken albeit lawyer to lawyer last weekend to confirm the Anaheim Ducks had signed papers allowing their former GM to talk with other teams and if reports are to be believed, groundwork was laid on the forthcoming negotiations.
In a recent e-mail conversation with Cliff Fletcher, the Maple Leafs general manager suggested that he hopes to put pen to paper with 18-year-old Luke Schenn by early next week.
The debate rages on as to where Schenn should spend the 2007-08 campaign. The initial community sentiment was that another year in Kelowna, where would enjoy a leadership role and ample playing time, was the best option for his development. His pre-season display of steady, consistent performances and composure way beyond his years has certainly put Fletcher in a delicate situation. It’s only been made trickier by the development of some injuries on the Leafs’ back-end.
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