Home Tags Posts tagged with "Vesa Toskala"

Vesa Toskala

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    The following are the lineups for both teams tonight. The Leafs are going to get a closer look at their top 4 defensive pairings and check out the rest of the young guns competing for jobs.

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      After watching the first four pre-season games, I’ve noticed a few players stand out while others have sunk into a state of mediocre play. This is my brief evaluation of the players we no longer need, including my own opening night roster preview. I look forward to reviewing all of your own opening night rosters compared to the way I view the brand new Maple Leafs.

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        The infamous Brian Burke “stamp” that has become his signature since his times in Hartford, Vancouver and Anaheim arrived in Toronto yesterday in the form of Phil Kessel and at the expense of the club’s next two first round draft picks and this year’s second round pick. Any time a general manager moves not one but two first round draft picks, it constitutes a major future-shaping decision and one that will ultimately play a major part in defining the legacy of his regime. Yesterday we were reaffirmed of one increasingly apparent fact about Brian Burke’s rebuild – it’s not your traditional model. We’ve seen over the course of the last three months – from June to September – Burke aggressively pursue all available avenues to try to position his club as a contender in the short and long term. Certainly, the 2009-10 campaign just got a whole lot more interesting.

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          The big news of the day, which turns out to be nothing, really, was the absence of Jonas Gustavsson from practice. Ron Wilson addressed the situation, talked about the goaltending situation, Matt Stajan and hinted on lineup additions for tomorrow in the final day of training camp.

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            The Maple Leafs began on-ice workouts today at their new practice facility, the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence.

            I’ve been given credentials and was on site for the first day and will be attending all three days of on ice practice.

            The following are a series of notes from Day 1 …

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              Earlier this week, I was able to catch up with a few Leafs at Lakeshore Lions Arena. I’ve gone a few times already this August, and the closer we get to the opening of camp, more and more players are showing up. Notable attendants have included Finger, Tlusty, Bozak, Hamilton, both Mitchells, Schenn, The Monster, Toskala, Mayers, Poni, Stajan and Oreskovic. More than likely, some players were missing due to Olympic camp tryouts and practices.

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                Leafs-related news has slowed to a crawl during the final weeks of the offseason, and this year’s summer movie scene has been rather unspectacular.   I propose a cure for both maladies:  a hockey movie to fill the void of a puck-deprived offseason, complete with all the excitement of a sports flick and all the truculence of an action blockbuster.

                And so, without further ado, here is the game-day casting call for your 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs.

                A tip o’ the hat to Don over at Mondesi’s House for the inspiration.

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                  Author: B Leaf

                  Last season, the Leafs were 10th in scoring (244) and 9th in shots on goal (2,603). There is no major reason why that number should drop other than the loss of Antropov. There are other players who should have better years and help fill his ice time with similar results. On the powerplay, the Leafs were middle of the road at 16th. The Leafs were a respectable 17th in shots allowed (2481), but were a league worst in goals against (286). The PK% was also a league worst. Not all the blame can be placed on the goaltending, but a lot of it can. The collective save percentage for the team was an abysmal .885%.

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                    Every season, teams have at least one player who emerges with a seemingly unexpected season.   This is often witnessed in the form of a surge in offense, a dramatic increase in ice time, or a goaltender excelling in key areas such as save percentage and shutouts.

                    Who will rise to the occasion this season, and surprise us all with a season beyond our expectations?

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                      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.

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                        Brian Burke was on Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown on Wednesday afternoon to discuss a variety of Leaf topics. An audio link to the interview can be found on the FAN 590′s website here. Although none of the news was of the earth-shattering variety, there were a couple interesting tidbits dropped as it pertains to the Leafs’ plans over the next few weeks and going into the regular season.

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                          Not a whole lot of news coming out of the NHL ranks these last few days, as the few free agents still available are playing the waiting game (kind of surprising to note that Alex Tanguay’s still out there). As we try to make it through the last work day before the weekend, let’s touch upon more trade speculation out of Chicago, Leaf prospect Mikhail Stefanovich, early playoff predictions and the Leafs’ second annual Coca Cola Fans First Game.

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                            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:  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.

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                              Leafs Nation can breathe a sigh of relief.  The long wait for Swedish goalie Jonas Gustavsson’s decision is over.  Reports indicate that the tender has finally chosen the Toronto Maple Leafs after a long wooing process from a number of interested teams.

                              The contract is a one year deal totaling $900,000.  Many expect Gustavsson to be brought in as Vesa Toskala’s backup and be a constant source of competition for our Finnish goaltender.  Of course, there is the possibility that “the best goaltender outside of the NHL” exceeds expectations and steals the number one spot.

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                                While he would never admit it, Ontario native Nazem Kadri must of felt a twinge of anger at how the biggest day in his life panned out. Treated like a high steak pawn at the 2009 draft where the dreams he worked so hard to achieve were to be realized, Kadri watched as a bitter Brian Burke failed to secure the vaunted trade northwards, then faced the ignominy of TSN analyst Darren Dreger questioning Burke about Brayden Schenn as he sat in silence, festooned in his Maple Leafs jersey. For sure it must have been disappointing and one can only hope he didn’t venture toward any Leafs related websites that night.

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                                  Even in the days of modern technology, many still profess that meteorology is an inexact science more guess work than theory. The very same can be said when scouting goaltenders. For every Mark-Andre Fleury (selected 1st overall in 2003) there’s a Brent Krahn (selected 9th overall in 2000). Meanwhile recent Vezina nominees and winners such as Tim Thomas, Mikka Kiprusoff and Evgeni Nabokov had to wait until the 217th, 116th and 219th selections respectively to see their names on the board. Indeed, the vast majority of netminders who started a game last season in the NHL had long waits deep into the second day to see their dreams realized while others went completely unnoticed only to resurface as free agents years later.

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                                    Justin Pogge

                                    Justin Pogge

                                    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?

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                                      Let’s take a break from the rumour mill, and have a look at where the Toronto Maple Leafs roster currently stands.

                                      With the draft a little over a month away, and free agency beginning shortly thereafter, it’s time to take a look at the current Maple Leafs’ roster, who is and is not under contract for next season, and the resultant depth at each position.

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                                        Part 3: 20 Years of Maple Misery
                                        From Gord Stellick to Cliff Fletcher Version 2.0

                                        It’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 shouldn’t make fun, but feel bad for them…