Honoured to have Leafs TV’s Paul Hendrick join Michael and Michael to talk Leafs.
Honoured to have Leafs TV’s Paul Hendrick join Michael and Michael to talk Leafs.
Toronto welcomed the HBO crew with a 3-2 overtime victory at the Air Canada Centre. They came out with the appropriate amount of desperation and effort for a team that has been stumbling significantly.
The Leafs dropped their first December contest to extend the losing streak to five games, and six of the last seven. San Jose hurled 41 shots on the net and James Reimer was pretty good yet again, but it was another game where a poor first period meant that the Leafs were playing catchup all night.
In a memo released in September of this year, the Chief Operating Officer of the NHL notified all league employees of initiatives and staff changes to take effect during the 2013-2014 season. In the memo the league identified a plan to increase annual gross national revenue by $1 billion dollars by the end of three years, or in other words, in time for the 2016-2017 season. To put that type of increase in perspective, it had previously taken the league from 2005-06 to 2011-12 – or 6 years – to attain the same revenue growth. Forget linear growth, we’re talking exponential revenue growth here, folks.
Luciano Pavarotti “Nessun Dorma”, Hockey Night in Canada Opening
“Nessun Dorma” by Luciano Pavarotti opens the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, the forever rivals, on Hockey Night In Canada on November 30th, 2013.
Good morning MLHS,
First off, let me start by thanking Alec, Michael and Michael for inviting me to participate in Maple Leaf Hangout Episode #17 – if you guys and gals had nearly as much fun watching as I did filming, then you and I are off to a good start!
Secondly, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to anyone that didn’t catch the Hangout and wonders what the heck I’m doing here. I’ve been following Alec’s writing since he started out at that ‘other site’ and I quickly moved over to the greener pastures of MLHS when he made the move. Along with reading all of the incredible content that the writers here put together, I’ve also stealthily followed the comments sections, and although I never actually posted myself, I feel like I’ve gotten to know a number of you by reading your comments over the years. So on that note, let me say that it’s an honour to have the opportunity to write to you along with the rest of the stellar (myself excluded) MLHS team.
Briefly, I’m a lawyer working downtown in Toronto with a concentrated litigation practice. As part of my education I’ve had the opportunity to study and write extensively about sports and entertainment law, and I now work at a firm with a practice in media litigation. As a guy with dreams of working in sports, I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent immersed in this site getting my hockey fix. My hope is that I can provide a slightly different take on some of the news and events that concern hockey and our Toronto Maple Leafs. But make no mistake, I’m a fan of the game – and more specifically the Maple Leafs – first and foremost.
I know that the Michaels and I addressed the Rogers deal with the NHL earlier, but I thought I’d just provide a quick run-down for anyone that missed the Hangout, or who simply wants a quick reference.
The Rogers Deal: The Basics
The proposed deal is for 12 years and approximately $5.2 Billion, which averages out to more than the $400 million/ season that the Commissioner was reportedly seeking from a new Canadian broadcasting deal. The deal is one of the longest in sports broadcasting history, and is unprecedented in that it is the first time in North American sports that a major sports league has granted exclusive distribution rights to a single broadcast network. As a result of the deal Rogers gets exclusive rights to all Canadian hockey, across all media platforms (including television, digital, and mobile) until the end of the 2026 season (or roughly until Rick Dipietro’s deal with the Islanders was supposed to expire). Rogers will have the exclusive right to broadcast Canadian hockey on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
As part of the deal, Rogers will sublicense two games a week to the CBC under the Hockey Night in Canada moniker over the next 4 years, while TVA will carry all French language broadcasts in la Belle Province. It’s not clear what will happen to the CBC’s affiliation with Hockey Night in Canada beyond four years. The CBC will also retain playoff games and Stanley Cup finals games that fall on a Saturday. Interestingly, because HNIC has now become part of the Rogers programming platform, editorial control over HNIC (including on-air content, talent and creative direction) now belongs to Rogers. In other words, if you’re tired of hearing Glenn Healy malign the Leafs call Nadir Mohamed (don’t actually) because the CBC can’t help you anymore.
Probably the single greatest impact of the deal is that is promises to mark the end of “regional games” and “blackouts.” So what does this all mean for us Leafs fans?
The Rogers Deal: Through a Blue and White Lens
Unequivocally, the end of “regional games” and “blackouts” is a good thing for Leaf fans living outside of the Leafs broadcast region who just want to watch hockey games featuring the Leafs. Regional games and blackouts occur as a result of agreements reached between the NHL, the national broadcaster (currently TSN and CBC), regional broadcasters (currently Sportsnet), and to some degree the hockey club. Take for example a poor Leaf fan stranded in Vancouver, far removed from his or her favourite team.
Under the current (expiring) deal, when a regional Leafs game is scheduled only those viewers residing in the Leafs broadcasting zone can see it. Making matters worse is that when a regional game is scheduled on a night when a national broadcaster is airing another game coast to coast, in order to prevent the games from competing for viewership the regional Leaf broadcast is limited to a 50 mile radius around the ACC.
Under the new deal, it would appear that even where the regional broadcaster (which will now be TSN as the station retains 10 regional Leafs games in 2014 and 26 in 2015) is broadcasting the Leafs game in Ontario, Rogers will have the right to broadcast the game outside of Ontario, so our Vancouver residing Leafs fan is now a happy camper. This is one of the major benefits of having a single media broadcaster because the concern over games competing against one another is a lot less pressing when you own the rights to all of the games anyway.
The concern for Leafs fans is that as part of the deal struck between Rogers and the CBC it may become necessary to subscribe to cable to see any Leafs games. The way the sub-license has been structured it’s not necessarily the case that the CBC will be carrying the Leafs on HNIC in Canada on a Saturday night. While Rogers owes the CBC two NHL games a week, the company retained control over on-air content and may simply decide that it would prefer to have the marquee Leafs matchup on CityTV rather than CBC. If that is in fact the case, then fans will not be able to tune in to the CBC’s free HD feed, and may need to start shelling out for games.
While the deal has not yet been ratified, the NHL Board of Governors is set to meet during the second week of December and will vote on the deal. That being said, anything less than resounding approval by the Board would be shocking at this point. In short, get ready for a whole-lot more Kypreos for the next 12 years.
Until next time,
With last night’s loss against Nashville, Randy Carlyle’s stint behind Toronto’s bench has spanned more than a season’s worth of games. Recently, there has been much discussion surrounding this team’s identity. Clearly, the current Maple Leafs are one of the best quick-attack squads in the league. They have a collection of highly skilled players, good special teams, and the support of some fantastic goaltending. Yet naysayers are prevalent in the Toronto hockey scene. Their criticism has often focused on the supposedly debilitating shot differential that has characterized this iteration of the Leafs. This is a team that has seen success under Carlyle in spite of the shot differential statistics. Ironically, it wasn’t so long ago that this franchise bucked this category of questionably predictive statistics from the other side of the spectrum.
A promising first period went badly astray as the Leafs had their five-game home winning streak snapped by four unanswered goals from the Nashville Predators. The Leafs move to 13-8-1 on the season.
Jake Gardiner dazzled in his best game of the season, David Clarkson FINALLY scored his first goal of the season and Jonathan Bernier was good when he needed to be as the Toronto Maple Leafs dropped the New York Islanders 5 – 2. Trevor Smith, Phil Kessel (2), Mason Raymond and Clarkson all scored for the Leafs, who won their second straight game. Smith (1G, 2A) and Joffrey Lupul (3A) tallied 3 points apiece as the Leafs cruised to a pretty easy victory. Bernier made 35 saves for his eighth victory of the season. Kevin Poulin struggled for the Islanders, making just 19 saves. Casey Cizikas and Frans Nielsen responded for the Isles.
1. Despite their middling record, the Islanders came into Toronto having won their last three matches at the ACC. They also have one of the league’s top forward trios with Jonathan Tavares, Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo combining for 66 points through the first 21 games. But that didn’t matter all that much because Joffrey Lupul carried the puck cleanly through the neutral zone, sifted through the defense, cut towards the net and found a wide open Trevor Smith out front who scored the game’s opening goal just 22 seconds into the game. Lupul assisted on the goal, Smith’s fourth of the year, breaking a mini slump (2 pts in last 9gp prior to tonight). Hockey’s Handsomest Line™ (Lupul, Smith and Clarkson) was creating chances every shift they took tonight, combining for 7 points.
2. Jake Gardiner was electric in the first period. He turned a defensive zone fourth line shift into two offensive chances. Firstly by adroitly clearing the zone and getting the puck to Frazer McLaren and into the Islanders zone. Later in the same shift, Cody Franson pounced on a turnover and left a soft touch pass for Gardiner. With the Isles forwards switching their vectors onto him, Gardiner floated a surprise pass to Franson. Despite somewhat bobbling the back and forth, Franson had enough time and space to recover and get a crisp, low shot off. Later in the frame he also played a 3 on 1 textbook perfectly, neutering what should have been a good chance by the Isles. He saw 9 minutes through the first 20, 22 through the game, and had a shift in the second period where he was just a one-man breakout machine (fun fact, that was my nickname in high school).
3. For Gardiner’s heroics, his erstwhile (that means former, before you get on me in the comments) defense partner Paul Ranger had another rough game, especially at the blue lines. The Islanders were allowed to keep the puck in the Leafs end for nearly a minute due to Ranger’s inability to get it to the line AND out. With the Leafs applying pressure and the Kessel line on, Ranger turned the puck over at the blue line on a seemingly innocuous play, allowing for a chance the other way. That’s usually the recipe for a good old fashioned benching, so of course he went on to play 17 and a half minutes tonight, even in spite of a foolish roughing penalty towards the middle of the third.
4. Though the Leafs were outshot 11-7 through 20, they appeared to hold the balance of play through the first. The second period started off less favourably for the Buds, getting outshot 4-0 and out played through the first five minutes of play. It wasn’t until a borderline hit by Nikolai Kulemin on Tavares that the Leafs woke up. Though not instantaneous, the ice began to tilt in Toronto’s favour. The Leafs top two lines took to work, hemming the Isles in their zone for sustained periods of time, leading to the inevitable….
5. After James van Riemsdyk got hacked down in the Isles’ zone, the Maple Leafs took the game’s first power play mid-way through the second period. With a PP that’s been scoring nearly a goal per game and the Leafs surging, Phil Kessel took a pass from Lupul, button hooked, took a couple steps down to the circle, and took just a beautiful wrister that sailed passed Poulin’s blocker. The goal was Kessel’s 11th of the season and just his second in 8 games; with Lupul and Phaneuf picking up the assists. He’d later pick up his second goal of the game and 12th of the season off a 2-1 rush with van Riemsdyk to close out the third.
6. This is why you don’t make fun of people’s names.
Poor Casey Cizikas. First for being named Casey. But also for being a Mediterranean topping that pairs well with lamb.
— Michael Stephens (@MLHS_Mike) November 20, 2013
Casey Cizikas, who isn’t a tasty thing that goes with donair, scores an absolute beauty on a breakaway with 11 seconds left in the 2nd, outracing Jake Gardiner (Not a typo) and slipping the puck through Bernier’s wickets. The Leafs held a 2-1 lead through 40, and I’m still sorry about the whole thing guys.
7. The third period started in a similar fashion to the second, with the Islanders controlling play. Shortly after Eric Boulton and Colton Orr chucked knuckles, Carl Gunnarsson blocks a shot and gets the puck out to Mason Raymond. The puck finds its way to a driving McClement in the center lane, who puts a shot on Poulin. Raymond was Johnny on the spot and buried the rebound to make it 3-1. The goal was Raymond’s 8th of the season, with McClement getting the lone assist. It was all over but the screaming at that point.
8. I wanted to use this space to discuss just how great a game Nikolai Kulemin had, but David Clarkson’s goal – and play tonight – warrant mention. The second line was great tonight. Their ability to wear the Isles down in the offensive zone was noticeable, and all three were rewarded handsomely on the score sheet. But for Clarkson, who is suddenly hot with three points in his last three games, his third period tally was the monkey off the back goal he so desperately needed. Much like Phil Kessel last season, it took Clarkson 21 11 games to pot his first, but it sure was a beauty. He played just a shade under 19 minutes tonight, and was hell for the Islanders to play throughout.
The line of Raymond, McClement and Kulemin was also effective while lining up against the Tavares unit for a number of shifts.
9. Special Teams Report: The league’s 11th ranked PK entering tonight (83.5% success rate) went 2/2 and kept the Leafs ahead the Islanders in the waning minutes of the second and mid-way through the third. Carl Gunnarsson, whom I maligned earlier this afternoon, made a huge play to block a couple shots with Bernier scrambling to get back in position. Gunnarsson’s selfless maneuver kept the Leafs two-goal lead intact with just over 10 left to play in the game.
The Leafs power play, ranked 3rd in the league with a 23.1 success rate, went 1/2 and helped put the Leafs out front by a two-goal margin. They never had to look back after that. For the record, the Zebras looked kindly on the Maple Leafs all game. In the first, Frazer McLaren attempted to instigate a fight with an unwilling Matt Martin. That probably should have been a penalty. Kulemin’s thunderous hit on Tavares, while the most hit Kuli’s had since May, was certainly on the edge of legality. The refs, thankfully, kept the whistles away, allowing for a fun, fast paced, even game.
10. The Islanders weren’t exactly expected to be a fearsome competitor facing the East’s third best team. Instead they served as slump busters, getting both Lupul and Kessel back on the score sheet after short droughts. It wasn’t always pretty for the full 60, but at no point did the game truly seem in doubt for the Leafs. There’s still plenty of room to grow, but this was a better, more dominant win than most for the Buds.
The Leafs will be in action on Thursday as they host the Nashville Predators. It’ll be the second and final regular season matchup between the two clubs; Toronto won their previous tilt 4-0.
|0:22:00||TOR||Trevor Smith (3) Snap shot - ASST: Joffrey Lupul (5)||1 - 0 TOR|
|11:19:00||TOR||PPG - Phil Kessel (11) Wrist shot - ASST: Joffrey Lupul (6), Dion Phaneuf (7)||2 - 0 TOR|
|19:48:00||NYI||Casey Cizikas (3) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE||2 - 1 TOR|
|3:39:00||TOR||Mason Raymond (8) Backhand shot - ASST: Jay McClement (2)||3 - 1 TOR|
|12:52:00||TOR||David Clarkson (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Trevor Smith (2), Joffrey Lupul (7)||4 - 1 TOR|
|15:14:00||NYI||Frans Nielsen (10) Wrist shot - ASST: Josh Bailey (6)||4 - 2 TOR|
|17:17:00||TOR||Phil Kessel (12) Wrist shot - ASST: James van Riemsdyk (7), Trevor Smith (3)||5 - 2 TOR|
|21||J. van Riemsdyk||L||0||1||1||1||0||2||0||0||2||1||25%||2:36:00||1:13:00||16:54:00|
|45||J. Bernier||35 - 37||0.946||0||60:00:00|
GO LEAFS GO.
Head to Head:
|GF/G||2.75 (14th)||2.76 (12th)|
|GA/G||2.30 (9th)||3.14 (27th)|
|SF/G||26.5 (28th)||30.3 (14th)|
|SA/G||35.8 (28th)||30.0 (14th)|
|PP||23.5% (3rd)||18.9% (17th)|
|PK||83.5% (11th)||72.3% (30th)|
|5 on 5 F/A||1.14 (9th)||0.91 (21st)|
|Sh%||10.3% (4th)||9.1% (13th)|
|Sv%||93.6% (2nd)||89.5% (27th)|
|FO%||46.7% (25th)||45.1% (29th)|
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|Left Defense||Right Defense|
Maple Leaf Pre-Game Hangout Ep.#13
Michael Langlois and Michael Stephens tee up the Maple Leafs vs Islanders Game.
From tonight’s Insider Trading on TSN:
McKenzie:If you’ve been hearing a lot of Vernon Fiddler trade rumours it’s because two weeks ago he went to the Dallas Stars and said he wants more ice time and wants a bigger role, and if he can’t get it with Dallas than let it be somewhere else. He’s on an expiring contract at $1.8 million and an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. There is interest in him from other teams but the Stars are wining and things are going well, so they’re not going to give him away. Keep an eye on this one.
Dreger: The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of those teams that have had discussions with Dallas about Fiddler. Toronto’s a little bit concerned about his age and the money, but the Leafs are looking for something. They’ve also had discussions on potentially trading John-Michael Liles to the Carolina Hurricanes but nothing imminent there.
When John Michael Liles is in the minors, the Leafs are pinged for 2,950,000 on the cap. If the Leafs were to deal Liles and retain half of his salary (maximum amount), they would be on the hook for 1,937,000. That doesn’t make sense to do over the length of the deal, but something like a million might. The maximum number of retained salaries is three per team, so this would put the Leafs at the max if it were to transpire. One stumbling block here is that Carolina has no more cap space than the Leafs.
When it comes to Vernon Fiddler, think of an upgrade on Smithson but a similar player type. 33 years old, veteran of nearly 600 games (has collected around 90 more points than Smithson in that time), plays around 2 minutes on the penalty kill, wins 53% of draws (this season), though surprisingly poor on the dot last season in the defensive zone and on the penalty kill. The downside is Fiddler is going to cost an asset, likely a mid round pick.
Nothing looks imminent here, but it seemed worth passing along.
The Leafs will return to the ice after what has seemed like an eternity. The JVR-at-center experiment will make its debut against the Devils tonight while Smithson and Fraser will draw into the lineup. The former is a move of necessity while the latter are indications of Carlyle reinforcing his desired style of game.
Courtesy of the Toronto Marlies:
“The Marlies posted a record of 1-0-1-0 in two games this past week. On Friday night, Toronto traveled down the QEW for their third meeting of the season against the Hamilton Bulldogs, AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. Despite Josh Leivo scoring his first goal of the season just over five minutes into the game, the Marlies were defeated 2-1 in overtime. Martin St. Pierre tallied both goals for the Bulldogs, while goaltender Drew MacIntyre stopped 35 of 37 shots in the loss.
It is a little ironic that Dave Nonis left Vancouver this past weekend with an eerily similar problem to the one he faced while GM of the Canucks.
Two of the longer term concerns entering the 2013-14 season for the Toronto Maple Leafs were the contract statuses of their star players Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf. GM Dave Nonis made good on Kessel’s desire to negotiate before the season, and now the Leafs leading scorer will be in the fold until 2022. Having taken care of the time sensitive work, now Nonis’ sights will be set on re-signing the Leafs captain to a long term deal. But what’s it going to cost? Let’s take a look.
For his part, Phaneuf has said he’s open to negotiating a new deal midseason, having done so in Calgary back in 2008. And why not? The Flames overpaid to lock up a young, budding star defender that had already reached the 20-goal and 60-point plateau by the age of 23. He’s never managed to repeat either feat since, and was shipped to Toronto two years later as a high-priced disappointment. Since coming to Toronto, he’s lost and re-found some measure of his scoring touch, while regularly lining up in the toughest defensive assignments. His role has changed, the cap has risen, the rules have changed, but his paycheque has remained static since then.
To look at what Phaneuf should get, I looked into the last four seasons of data on defensemen (2009-10 through 2012-13). Amusingly, these happen to be the four worst years of Phaneuf’s career from a statistical standpoint, but probably better reflect his scoring output as the seasons roll on. Yes, in an eight-year career, two Phaneuf’s worst individual seasons saw him feature 10th and 12th in league scoring among defenders. So please understand that I used the word ‘worst’ in a relative sense here.
In 277 games over the last four seasons, Phaneuf ranks 23rd in points scored with 134, good for .48 points per game. More impressively, he ranks 8th in goals (41), power play goals (18) and time on ice (6916 minutes). It is in that last category where there’s some interesting salary correlations, as six of the seven players ahead of him in TOI over the last four seasons also have higher cap hits (Weber, Chara, Bouwmeester, Doughty, Suter and Boyle). Only Duncan Keith, signed to a phony 13-year, $72-million deal that pays just 5% of his total salary over his final two seasons, has a lower annual cap hit and has played more hockey than Phaneuf.
Now, ice time is hardly a perfect measure of Phaneuf’s worth, and I think most would agree that at least five of the seven players ahead of Phaneuf on that list are better defensemen than the Leafs captain. But what we can extrapolate is that is that defensemen who play as much as Phaneuf does tend to get paid as much as Phaneuf does. They also tend to have both a leadership role and a ‘play in all situations’ role with their club, much like Phaneuf does. So while I’d be hesitant to say that Phaneuf is the league’s 8th best defenseman, he’s certainly in the top 20.
But one of the greatest difficulties in projecting Phaneuf’s future cap hit is understanding the vast shift in his playing style since coming to Toronto. As alluded to above, he has been tasked with defensive zone starts and top lines every shift he’s skated in Toronto. In his early days, Phaneuf saw over 5 minutes a night on the power play, and was given sheltered minutes at even strength. This season, Phaneuf finds himself in an elite pair of defenders (the other being Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson) who average at least 3:30 in ice time on both the penalty kill and power play per game while facing the league’s best forwards.
At this point, I’d like to remind Leafs fans of Phaneuf’s idol and potential career model, Scott Stevens. While known for punishing hits and staunch defensive play for the New Jersey Devils, it’s sometimes hard to remember that he was once a pure scorer. While never among the ranks of Larry Murphy or Paul Coffey offensively, Stevens still tallied 900 points in his career. His best season was 1993-94 when he finished with 78 points. Then came the first of Gary Bettman’s lockouts and a new game format that encouraged stifling defensive play. In 10 more seasons, Stevens would only crack 30 points once more, yet he became the most notable defensive presence of the “Dead Puck Era.”
Similarly for Phaneuf, the offensive dynamism that made him rich seems to have been replaced by defensive prowess. It’s not that Phaneuf has lost that offensive side to his game, it’s that his role and usage limit his overall number of offensive chances for in favour of limiting offensive chances against. Phaneuf could never score 40 points again, but he’s significantly more reliable, responsible and positionally sound than he was in his halcyon days as a scorer. As both James Mirtle and I said on Monday, Phaneuf is without a doubt the most irreplaceable player in the line up.
Many have argued that Phaneuf’s current cap number looks out of place citing his capgeek comparables, and have been using Jay Bouwmeester when forecasting Phaneuf’s next deal. The St. Louis Blues defender and former linemate of Phaneuf’s is in the last year of a deal that pays him $6.68-million annually. He also recently signed a five-year extension with the Blues that will pay him a mere $5.4-million. And for seemingly little reason, that’s what Phaneuf should get. Or so the thinking goes.
But there’s several factors that make me believe there’s no chance that Phaneuf can be re-signed for JayBo’s modest number. Firstly, there’s little similarity in their game, beyond the fact that both log a tonne of minutes. Over the past four seasons, Bouwmeester has 30 fewer points than Phaneuf; 22 fewer goals. While a top defenseman in his own right, Bouwmeester has to fight for third billing behind standouts Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk. It’s hard to ask for a raise when there are two other guys at your work who do your job better than you. Phaneuf does not have to suffer that workplace competition, and might never in a Leaf uniform. Also, George W. Bush was still president at the start of the last season where Bouwmeester recorded 40 points. Finally, Phaneuf is also a year younger than Bouwmeester, still closer to his prime and still able to crack 40 points.
So what does it all mean? What is Phaneuf worth? Most would agree that he’s not worthy of Ryan Suter’s $7.4-million paycheque, despite Phaneuf having 59 more points over 600-game careers. He’s also worth more than Jay Bouwmeester’s future cap hit of $5.4-million.
If I had to stake a guess, I’d actually say that Phaneuf will see a slight raise ahead of next season. He’s still only 28, and has been healthy most of his career. He’s proven capable of playing 25-minutes a night and more likely than not to score 40 points a season. There’s a dearth of options internally or externally that the Leafs could acquire to immediately replace and improve upon what Phaneuf does.
The only way I could see him re-signing at his current price tag or for less money is if the Leafs are willing to offer Phaneuf an eight-year deal. But if I had to give a more accurate range, I’d say that the Leafs and Phaneuf will probably end up coming to terms on a deal in the 7-8 year, $47-56-million deal. That would put his annual cap hit at a reasonable, $6.7 to $7-million cap hit on a deal that would expire when Phaneuf was 36 or 37 years of age. Should the Leafs want shorter term, expect the AAV to go up accordingly.
While it might sound unreasonable, nothing about NHL player’s paydays are ever reasonable. And ask yourself, what would you rather have? Phaneuf at 6.9 million, or to spend the next few seasons trying to replace him?
That’s a wrap on Episode 10 of the Maple Leaf Hangout with The Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle.
- Kadri stepping into the first line center spot
- Are the Leafs a real contender for a top seed in the East?
- David Clarkson’s first few games
Toronto bounced back from a defeat in Columbus last night in a big way with a win against the Penguins. The Leafs found their physical game and put forth a strong effort across the board on their way to a 4-1 victory.
Ugly start to the first leg of the weekend’s back-to-back, and a spoiled debut for David Clarkson, as the Leafs drop to 7-4-0 with a 5-2 loss in Columbus.
Tonight, David Clarkson will make his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Many in Leafs Nation are excited about the prospect of a power forward like Clarkson entering the lineup. Rightly so: he hits, he fights, he cycles and he can put the puck in the net.