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A quick look at the Todd Bertuzzi to Toronto scenario, the NHL’s investigation into Chicago’s Marian Hossa contract (boy have they had a tough offseason), more on the Phil Kessel contract status, and a bit about Wayne Primeau’s thoughts going into next season.
A month into the offseason, one thing can be said for sure about the steps the Toronto Maple Leafs have taken toward rebuilding the team:Â credit Brian Burke with having a plan, and sticking to it.
The beginnings of that plan are clearly reflected in the sweeping changes to the goaltending and defence corps this summer, as well as a noticeable infusion of truculence.
The Maple Leafs are under investigation for tampering after an interview with Ron Wilson on June 30th in which the head coach hinted that the Leafs were interested in the services of the Sedin Twins. The Canucks have not filed the suit, and until the investigation is concluded, Brian Burke refuses to make any comments about the situation.
On a similar note, the league is now under investigation for possible anal retentiveness.
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?
In just over two weeks, the NHL Entry Draft will be upon us.Â Naturally, speculation as to the future destination of the top prospects is heating up.Â Â With July 1st rapidly approaching, trade rumours (some related to the draft, some not) and free agent speculation are abounding with fury.Â And, of course, possible internal team moves are getting their fair share of play as well.
Here are a few scenarios based on the latest buzz surrounding the Maple Leafs.Â The question is:Â which of these scenarios would you consider, and why?
While the Leafs made the decision not to renew Marlies coach Greg Gilbert, some of the players are truly on the ball.
I’ll be answering a question or two every few days to fill time and space while we wait for the dog days of another playoff-less spring to wane away. It should also give each topic it’s due deliberation as opposed to throwing a series of topics at you guys at once. Today’s topic: The UFA-eligible Jeremy Williams.
For the second year in a row, Team Canada fell 2-1 to the Russians in yesterday’s gold medal game at the 2009 World Hockey Championships in Switzerland. Ilya Bryzgalov made 37 saves and the Russian defense managed for the most part to keep a prolific Canadian offense in check.
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.
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.
Any hopes of Toronto spoiling Montreal’s playoff run were officially put to bed on Saturday night, as the Canadiens, for one night at least, managed to resemble last season’s squad.
Leaf Nation had hoped their previous victory would be the final nail in the coffin for the Habs; instead, that loss seems to have been the catalyst that broke the Habs (who have gone 5-0-1 since) out of their slumber.Â Â Could this get any worse for Leaf fans?
13 goals, 3 tenders, countless defensive errors and ugly goals.Â You almost felt sorry for Curtis Joseph after Jeff Carter cruised in for an easy breakaway goal and the camera panned to a thoroughly annoyed Ron Wilson.Â The Leafs would attempt a comeback of sorts after going down by six goals, but even with the best efforts of Martin Biron, it all went for naught.
In a game that was just as much about the Flyers’ failings as it was the Leafs’ success, Toronto played an energetic 60 minutes.Â Their bombardment of the Philadelphia net resulted in the exit of a shaky Martin Biron and an eventual total of 38 shots on goal.Â To be brutally honest, the Flyers were awful on a night when they should have steamrolled a non-playoff team.Â Ron Wilson and company must be happy that their team was the only one to show up tonight at the ACC.
As the goals against continue to pile up, so do the questions regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs’ future between the pipes. Last night’s 7-5 drubbing at the hands of the Boston Bruins officially moved the Leafs to the basement of the NHL in terms of goaltending and defensive play with an astounding total of 274 goals allowed (3.41 GAA). Combine that with a league worst 88.4% save percentage and you’ve got some serious issues. The team directly above them? Andrew Raycroft and the Colorado Avalanche. Ugh.
It comes as no surprise anymore that the Maple Leafs are capable of these late season success stories; the oneâ€™s where they basically go on a ridiculous wins to loss ratio and play damn well near 0.700 hockey. And while this can make for exciting hockey, it leaves many shaking their heads at their televisions, laughing at the sheer dominance the club proved over an elite team.
The American Hockey League has released the 2008-09 Clear Day Period lists for each of its 29 member clubs.
Link: “We’re going through a phase right now where I challenge our players to get better every day and the only way you can do that is by attempting to win.”
“If you want to teach them to be professionals and get this organization going in the right direction, which the coaching staff and management is doing, then you have to teach guys how to win. Anything less than that is unacceptable.”
I’ve had just about enough of the Tank debate. Let the draft pick land where it may and go from there. A re-build has far more to it than simply drafting. Remember all the work Cliff Fletcher performed to combat the alleged “country club” atmosphere that had permeated the Leaf dressing room? Creating an atmosphere in which losing is in any shape or form acceptable is a serious case of backwards thinking.
JUSTIN POGGE (# 29) â€“ G
Birthdate: April 22, 1986
Hometown: Fort McMurray, Alberta
The ongoing contract negotiations taking place between Brian Burke and Larry Kelly, Dominic Moore’s agent, are more meaningful than face value. On the surface, trying to re-sign a player that is for all intents and purposes a third line center (while a very good one at that) isn’t going to make or break the franchise, unlike the contract situations currently unfolding with Jay Bouwmeester, Marian Gaborik and their respective general managers.
Here’s the latest from a trusty source.
On the Antropov-Chicago rumours heating up:
“Chatter has Hawks VERY INTERESTED in Antro and that talks have really heated up. Rumor is Burke’s interested in the Hawks’ young d-men, i.e. Duncan Keith.”
There are three major defenseman that are available – Kaberle, Pronger and Bouwmeester – and several teams are jockeying for position for all of them. A handful of teams would be happy with any of them.Â If you had to put money on Burke, Martin or Murray, who would you bet on to get the most out of a dealâ€¦exactly.Â Burkeâ€™s got ‘em exactly where he wants them and would prefer that one of the aforementioned d-men gets moved first as it will provide him even more leverage.”
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