The Leafs held a press conference today with Brian Burke. Here are some interesting comments on behalf of the new President and GM.
* Brian Burke will refuse to trade players (for the most part) during the timeline of December 9th to January 2nd as he believes all players deserve to spend the holidays with their families; however, this isn’t to say he will not continue negotiations during this time.
* Brian Burke believes a teamâ€™s system depends on a skilled top six forwards top four defense, and a â€œplumbersâ€ core for the rest to do the dirty job.
* He is looking for tenacity, and grit, and believes the team must build from the net out.
* If Brian Burke had the opportunity to hire a coach today, heâ€™d hire Ron Wilson.
* Burke and his wife wanted to get their family in the same time zone.
* Burke considers the Maple Leafs the Vatican of Catholicism. Claims he embarassed himself with how quickly he agreed to take the job.
* Leafs are turning a new page, and he believes Luke Schenn is the real deal. Also confirmed the Ducks were also in heavy negotiations to try and pry Grabovski out of Montreal last season.
So a few questions stand out:
1. Is Brian Burke truly a players GM?
2. Who is considered the â€œskilledâ€ and â€œplumbersâ€?
3. Is a change in goaltending in line for the Leafs?
I think it’s safe to say the Leafs are in good hands.
Enough is Enough
The Maple Leafs management have grown tired over the teamâ€™s lack of grit and the inability to fend off the heavyweights, or even middleweights in the league. A Jamal Mayers or a Luke Schenn can only go so far as the Leafs call up AndrÃ© Deveaux from the Marlies.
Deveaux, who has just come off a four game suspension, is set to make his NHL debut Thursday night as the Leafs travel to Ottawa to visit the Senators. Though considered an enforcer, Deveaux is fifth on the team in points (8), second on the team in goals (6) and first in penalty minutes (54). Heâ€™s also one of the few players on the team who do not sit in the +/minus column. In 13 games played, heâ€™s only ten points shy of marking a career year.
The 24 year old is also in no ways a slouch in the size department. He stands 6â€™4â€ tall and carries 217 pounds with him into his power forward performance. He is considered a shut down forward with the ability to claim his territory in front of the net rather easily.
Letâ€™s not get ahead of ourselves; he isnâ€™t going to be a force on the second or even third line in the NHL, but he could be that fourth line player the Leafs have lacked since trading Wade Belak. Consider a line featuring Deveaux, Mitchell and Mayers. Not exactly the easiest line to play against considering all three are big bodies who want to score and love to throw their weight around.
It is abundantly clear after last nightâ€™s performance against the Thrashers that the Leafs need an enforcer on the club, though many Leaf fans have been saying it since the beginning of the season.
The Leafs were always known to defeat the Senators in the playoffs because of their size and strength as they blasted bodies out of the way on route to series victories. Maybe itâ€™s time to bring some of that size and strength back into the core lineup.
Quick update: Looks like Moore and Finger are already trying to prove their worth to Brian Burke as the two got into a brief scrap during today’s practice. Both sides have made up, but according to Moore “no kissing was involved”.
Update 1:00: Here’s Toronto’s lineup from practice today:
Ponikarovsky Stajan Antropov
Kulemin Grabovski Hagman
Mitchell Moore Stempniak
Hollweg Mayers Deveaux
Kubina – Schenn
Micheal A. Aldred