Odds and Ends on a Saturday Morning


    A collection of unrelated hockey thoughts for a cold and wet Saturday morning:

    The Tampa Bay Lightning fired Head Coach Barry Melrose yesterday and named Rick Tocchet as his interim replacement. What the heck is plan over there? I’m sure many of you have heard this analogy before, but I certainly think it holds true. It’s like they’re playing NHL ’09 on XBOX: knee jerk reactions galore. They start their offseason by convincing Dan Boyle to stay on a last place team and providing him with an NTC, but then ship him out of town a few days before it kicks in. Not exactly top notch player relations there. They spend the entire summer hyping up their top prospect with the “Seen Stamkos?” campaign, and proceed to have him play less than 12 minutes/game (9th among Tampa forwards). 12 games into the season, they ship out Matt Carle, the player they just acquired as part of a package for Dan Boyle. At the 16 game mark, they decide to fire their newly hired head coach as well. Oh well, at least it gives the rest of us something to talk about. For the sake of Lightning fans, I hope someone takes away management’s controller soon.

    Wow, is that Semin kid special or what? 5 point game the other night, and sits at the top of the scoring race with a ridiculous 27 points in 16 games played. Do you take Crosby/Malkin/Staal/Whitney/Fleury or Ovechkin/Semin/Backstrom/Green/Alzner? Pretty tough call. Nonetheless, it looks like those two squads, spurred on by the Malkin/Ovechkin hate, is going to make for one heckuva rivalry over the next few years.

    There is some serious beef going on between Mikhail Grabovski and the rest of the Canadiens squad, and it was evident in last week’s game against the Habs when Grabovski even butt ended Price a bit with his stick in front of the net. Pierre Mcguire speculated the other day on the FAN that it started last season when Sergei Kostitsyn was called up and took Grabovski’s spot in the lineup. Grabovski wasn’t too happy about it and let them know about it. At one point during the season, he left the team to fly to Los Angeles to speak with his agent, sparking even more controversy. Mikhail does seem to be in check now under Ron Wilson, and the added animosity makes for an even more interesting Habs/Leafs rivalry.

    Toronto prospect Christopher Didomenico, who plays for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, hurt himself in a game on Wednesday and is expected be out 2-3 weeks. As such, Halifax Moosehead’s forward Steven Anthony will replace Saint John Sea Dogs teammate Chris DiDomenico on the QMJHL roster for the upcoming ADT Canada-Russia Challenge. This is a big blow to Dido’s chances of making Team Canada’s WJC squad.

    Anyone else starting to get a little bored with the song they always play when the Leafs score at the ACC? I’ve always felt they could use something a little different; something that still pumps you up, but really resounded “Toronto”. For one of the most international and multicultural cities in the world, I really liked one of the ideas tossed forth by a Leaf fan at hfboards: Bellini – Samba De Janeiro. You soccer fans know what I’m talking about!


    Lastly, don’t forget to vote for your Leafs into the 2009 All-Star Game in Montreal.

    Here’s how the leaderboards currently look:

    Leading Forwards
    RIBEIRO, Mike–68312
    ZETTERBERG, Henrik–61872
    IGINLA, Jarome–61446
    DATSYUK, Pavel–61027
    HOSSA, Marian–59750
    MORROW, Brenden–55784
    KOIVU, Mikko–53292
    KANE, Patrick–36230
    MODANO, Mike–33183
    GETZLAF, Ryan–31607

    Leading Defensemen
    LIDSTROM, Nicklas–100843
    PHANEUF, Dion–92759
    SOURAY, Sheldon–42184
    RAFALSKI, Brian–39018
    ROBIDAS, Stéphane–38407
    BOYLE, Dan–37495
    CAMPBELL, Brian–27125
    BURNS, Brent–20186
    NIEDERMAYER, Scott–19912
    WEBER, Shea–19505

    Leading Goalie
    LUONGO, Roberto–111375
    TURCO, Marty–40562
    NABOKOV, Evgeni–32708
    OSGOOD, Chris–23340
    BACKSTROM, Niklas–19748

    Leading Forwards
    KOIVU, Saku–194474
    KOVALEV, Alex–193769
    TANGUAY, Alex–191603
    SEMIN, Alexander–74623
    OVECHKIN, Alex–58861
    CROSBY, Sidney–57625
    MALKIN, Evgeni–41337
    LECAVALIER, Vincent–33956
    GAGNE, Simon–31560
    SAVARD, Marc–20536

    Leading Defensemen
    MARKOV, Andrei–208334
    KOMISAREK, Mike–193621
    GREEN, Mike–51152
    CHARA, Zdeno–45653
    TIMONEN, Kimmo–34217
    KABERLE, Tomas==27734
    HAMRLIK, Roman–18195
    GONCHAR, Sergei–18187
    NUMMINEN, Teppo–15558
    WHITNEY, Ryan–12663

    Leading Goalie
    PRICE, Carey–209705
    LUNDQVIST, Henrik–54086
    FLEURY, Marc-Andre –23082
    THOMAS, Tim– 23042
    MILLER, Ryan –18142

    I can understand the intrigue and sentiment of icing an all-Canadiens starting lineup for the all-star game during their 100th anniversary, and that’s exactly what the promotional campaigns in Montreal are getting at, but Mike Komisarek as your Eastern starting all-star defenseman is just wrong.

    But hey, vote for whomever you want and up to twenty times I think. Kaberle definitely deserves a spot, and perhaps even Stajan or Antropov as well.


    Don’t forget! The Kyle Wellwood Showdown: Tonight at 7pm ET in Vancouver on HNIC. Hope to see everyone join Alec and I in the Game Day Thread for some discussion and in-game fun!

    Always a pleasure,

    Alex Tran

    [email protected]

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    Alex has been a part of the original MLHS team since way back in 2008. He has contributed to the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals with a special interest in junior hockey and player development.