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Time to shake off the lingering effects of a rough Saturday night, by taking a peek at some of the stories headlining today’s Leaf news. A peek at Wilson’s coaching cheatsheet, a case for the Monster to start on Tuesday night, random notes from the games, and some quick prospect updates for Kadri, Blacker and Stefanovich.
Per Kevin McGran at the Toronto Star:
On a day a former Maple Leafs captain formally announced his retirement, coach Ron Wilson said the team would again start the season captainless.
Newcomers Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin however will join Tomas Kaberle as three alternate captains.
McGran notes that Wilson suggested the captaincy issue would be revisited in roughly a month’s time from now, at which point the coach will consider whether one of his three assistants should be given the role or whether the team should remain captainless for another season.
Read the full article from The Star
From the ‘Not Particularly A Shock’ files …
Per the Toronto Star,Â Nazem Kadri has been returned to the London Knights of the OHL.
This move should not really come as any surprise; as an offensive player Kadri would require top-six forward line minutes in order to most effectively impact his development.Â Â And the fact of the matter is, those minutes simply aren’t going to be there, not with Grabovski, Stajan, Ponikarovski, Blake, and Hagman holding down five of those spots, and with Bozak, Stalberg and Stempniak all fighting for the sixth.
I read an article in the Toronto Star the other day, in which Damien Cox suggests that the Maple Leafs weren’t as soft of a club as many believe last season, due mostly to the fact that the Leafs were tied for 13th in the NHL regarding fighting misconducts, and were 15th overall when it came to penalty minutes. The point was to demonstrate that the club was average in terms of team toughness, not the soft club many of us and Brian Burke believe.
Some interesting contrasting rumors/speculation in the Toronto media today regarding Kessel:
Damien Cox of the Toronto Star hears that Phil Kessel is very interested in joining the Maple Leafs and is already familiar with both Brian Burke and Ron Wilson through the U.S. Olympic program. However, Cox also mentions that it’s believed that Boston GM Peter Chiarelli is not overly enthused at the notion of dealing Kessel within the division but that Toronto is willing to pay more than the offer sheet compensation of three draft picks.
On the other hand, Lancy Hornby of the Toronto Sun reports that the Leafs intensified talks with the Bruins yesterday, and that Kessel could be headed this way in exchange for a “high 2010 draft pick”. Although you’d have to assume that the return would be much higher than that, the way it’s put seems to imply that it would be a single pick in return.
Hang in there folks, we’re almost into September…
The Globe and Mail has got a very interestingÂ article up discussing the latest developments in the ongoing battle between Jim Balsillie and the NHL. At the very centre of whole controversy could be an antitrust lawsuit filed by Balsillie if he feels he can prove that the NHL was acting to protect the position of the Toronto Maple Leafs, rather than the league as a whole. If it is shown that the Maple Leafs have the right to veto such a move (and it’s speculated that the Leafs organization believes that’s the case), then that would be in violation of the antitrust law, and thus illegal.
The Toronto Star reports that the Leafs may get very little if any money at all in compensation if a new team should enter the Soutern Ontario market, a belief certainly contrary to the speculated territorial rights reaching astronomical figures as high as hundreds of millions of dollars. The article quotes findings from a recent economic investigation in saying that Leafs fans could expect lower ticket prices, but demand would likely still be high enough to sustain the sellouts.
And now a question to all the readers, particularly the ones in or around the Hamilton area: Do you support the notion of another NHL franchise in Southern Ontario, and would you consider switching and/or splitting allegiances?
Today’s midweek rumblings include the implications of the Joey Macdonald signing, Zherdev bolts for the KHL, a preview of the Coyotes afternoon hearing, a possible Senators throwback jersey, a whole lot of nothing on Phil Kessel and the National Post’s take on winners/losers of free agency.
Hitting the links bright and early on a Thursday morning: Jim Balsillie and the city of Hamilton get new life, Kadri’s WJC tryout experience, an update on the Justin Pogge situation, Leafs sign a young defenseman, a mid-summer recap of the offseason festivities, and the Marlies coaching staff announced.
After taking a short pause to catch his breath after the Jonas Gustavsson deal was all sewn up, GM Brian Burke got right back down to business, as the Toronto Star is reporting that he placed calls to six free agent forwards. His top two priorities at the moment include a skilled forward for the top six group, and a versatile player for the bottom six group that will contribute to the team’s penalty kill. Briefly skimming through the list of free agent forwards still available, I’m going to toss out the names PJ Axelsson and Tom Kostopoulous into the already rumored group of Manny Malholtra, Blair Betts and Travis Moen. As a 29 year old, 6’3 210 lb player from Western Canada, Betts was the #1 forward on the league’s #1 PK unit last season for the Rangers.
The Leafs have a tad over $3M left to play with this offseason, and Burke mentioned that he had received a significant offer for one of his defenseman not named Kaberle, in a deal that would involve a forward coming back with a greater salary. So he’s going to have to weigh his options over the next few days, as he prioritizes how to allocate the remaining cap space.
Maple Leafs’ GM Brian Burke, per the Toronto Star:
“We intend to be pushing the cap every year. We want to spend the money intelligently. We’re Big Blue, we’re going to spend to the cap.”
Now, your initial reaction to that is probably one of surprise, given Burke’s previous statements about a potential cap decline. Â Â Does that mean his statement today runs counter to the theory of a rebuilding effort?Â Â Â Â Not at all.
Part 3: 20 Years of Maple Misery
From Gord Stellick to Cliff Fletcher Version 2.0
Itâ€™s been over 40 years since the Leafs won the cup and while others make fun of the fans for continuing to cheer, here is an overview of why you shouldnâ€™t make fun, but feel bad for themâ€¦
Speculation abounds that the Toronto Maple Leafs are continuing their efforts to re-sign Dominic Moore to a reasonable contract extension.Â Â The talks are expected to continue well into this afternoon and evening.
When it comes to trade rumours, generally the first thing we look at is the salary cap, and how much cap space the teams in question have available.Â But how important is the cap, in order for potential trades to become reality?
An ailing crop of defenders, a change of scenery, and a night off.
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