Posts from January 2011

Toronto Maple Leafs 2010-11: Week 17

Published on Monday, January 31, 2011 — View Comments

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 25: James Reimer #34 of th...

The ice we skate is getting pretty thin – Smash Mouth

Much was made that sitting 18-22-5, the 5 games leading up to the All Star Break, against some tough opponents, would be key to the Maple Leafs season. If they were key, then the Leafs are going to be locked out of the house for a long time. After a brutal 7-0 shutout against NYR, a surprising bounceback against ANA, and a tough 4-1 loss to WAS, the chance to salvage something depended on the performances against CAR and TB.

Continued…

Toronto Maple Leafs 2010-11: Week 16

Published on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 — View Comments

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: Marian Gaborik #10 ...

Yes only love can break your heart - Neil Young

Neil was only half right… being a Leaf fan will also do a very nice job of breaking one’s heart.

After a decent start to January, documented in previous posts, the Maple Leafs have fallen back into old habits, as evidenced by their 7-0 slaughter at the hands of the NY Rangers. It took about half a period before the Leafs fell apart, and the Rangers were able to exploit a defence that abandoned Jonas Gustavsson, making his first start in weeks. Marian Gaborik, Brian Boyle, Gaborik again and Ruslan Fedotenko scored in 4:45 (3 on Gustavsson, once on Giguere who replaced him), and from there the game was over. Coach Wilson seems intent on completely destroying Gustavsson’s confidence, throwing him back into net to start the second period, where Gustavsson allowed 3 more, for 6 on 25 shots. The fact is, Gaborik had been struggling and the Rangers were without Brandon Dubinsky, expected to miss a month. Yet, Gaborik ended up with 4 goals on the night, while Henrik Lundqvist faced only 22 shots. The Leaf defence was nowhere to be found, the offence was no threat to the Rangers, and the only negative for NYR was losing Fedotenko to a separated shoulder late in the game.

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NHL Trade Deadline: Who Is Likely To Make Moves? (East)

Published on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 — View Comments

Eastern Conference logo, circa 2006

As the NHL trade deadline is a little more than a month away, speculation abounds with what teams will make which moves to either make a long playoff run or clear the decks for the off season. Not one to shy away from giving an opinion, it’s time I weigh in with my thoughts…

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NHL Trade Deadline: Who Is Likely To Make Moves? (West)

Published on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 — View Comments

Western Conference logo, circa 2006
Image via Wikipedia

As the NHL trade deadline is a little more than a month away, speculation abounds with what teams will make which moves to either make a long playoff run or clear the decks for the off season. Not one to shy away from giving an opinion, it’s time I weigh in with my thoughts…

Continued…

More NHL Trades and Moves

Published on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 — View Comments

It is more difficult in a salary cap world to make player personnel moves, but somehow NHL general managers are finding ways to try to improve their teams.

With cap space available, the Dallas Stars helped out the New Jersey Devils by welcoming a familiar face back to the franchise. Jamie Langenbrunner, originally drafted by Dallas in 1993, was reacquired after spending parts of 9 seasons with the Devils. He has won a Stanley Cup once with each franchise. Though he’d put up 60+ point seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10, the now former Devils captain managed only 14 points in 31 games with this season’s underachieving squad. He’ll provide a little veteran presence and good two-way play to a playoff hopeful Stars team. New Jersey gets back a conditional 2011 third round draft choice, which could become a second round choice if Langenbrunner re-signs with the Stars, or Dallas wins a playoff round.

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Toronto Maple Leafs 2010-11: Week 15

Published on Sunday, January 16, 2011 — View Comments

TORONTO, CANADA - JANUARY 6: Kris Versteeg #32...

There’s something happening here… what it is ain’t exactly clear… – Buffalo Springfield

On December 12, the Leafs sat 11-14-4, 26 points, 13th in the East, 28th overall. Coming off a win at home against Montreal, they embarked on a Western Canadian swing, looking to take at least 2 of 3 to try to salvage a playoff run. And while they avenged an earlier loss to Edmonton, they dropped games to Calgary and Vancouver, returned home and lost to Atlanta on December 20. Christmas hit with Toronto on a 3 game losing streak, headed to Jersey for Boxing Day almost 2 full weeks since their last win.

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Goaltending and the Toronto Maple Leafs

Published on Saturday, January 15, 2011 — View Comments

During the first period of hockey while I was ...
Image via Wikipedia

Since the decline of Eddie Belfour, there’s been some turmoil in the corded cottage of the Maple Leafs. They looked like they may have set themselves up well, drafting Justin Pogge (future Canadian Major Junior Goalie of the Year) in 2004 and Tuukka Rask in the first round in 2005. Of course, we know how things did not work out as they should have. John Ferguson Jr. and the braintrust decided Pogge was the better prospect, and traded Rask to acquire Andrew Raycroft, hoping he could jumpstart his career again. JFJ spent draft picks to get Vesa Toskala. In between, appearances by JS Aubin, Mikael Tellqvist, Curtis Joseph, Martin Gerber, Scott Clemmensen and Justin Pogge had done no better to solidify the position.

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Toronto Maple Leafs 2010-11: Week 14

Published on Saturday, January 8, 2011 — View Comments

TORONTO,CANADA - JANUARY 3:  Deon Phaneuf #3 a...

After a win to begin the year, the Leafs hoped they could grab another 2 points from a division rival against Boston. As has been the case at times this season, they played well, but were unable to beat the better team. Tuukka Rask starred in net for Boston, making 36 saves and reminding Leaf fans about what might have been had John Ferguson Jr. not traded him. Leafs countered with James Reimer, making his second consecutive start. All in all, it was a decent game. Both the Leafs and Bruins had chances, and few penalties were called through the game. Grabovski continued his good play of late, scoring in the first period. The Bruins first line, recently fairly dormant, got some spark in the second period though. Nathan Horton put a shot past Reimer, then Marc Savard scored to put Boston up 2-1. Leafs could not get another by Rask, and Reimer also shut things down, making 31 saves on the night. Notable was the even though he did not score, extending his problems against his former team, Kessel did have a number of chances and shots , he simply was not able to convert anything.

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World Juniors: Medals!

Published on Thursday, January 6, 2011 — View Comments

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 05: Maxim Kitsyn #13 of ...

I think this WJHC will go down as one of surprises followed by more surprises.

Beginning with the lowest finishers, Norway and Germany have been relegated for next year’s tournament. Norway finishes in 9th place, having beaten Germany 3-1 in their final game. Norway’srecord was 1-5, while Germany finished 0-6.

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World Juniors Playoff Update

Published on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 — View Comments

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 26: Forward Marcus Foli...

Well, I am not sure anyone could have predicted the way the medal round has shaped up at the World Junior Championships in Buffalo. The games have been quite surprising.

No surprise that defending gold-medalists USA finished atop their pool, with Finland second and a tough Swiss team in third. No disrespect to Slovakia and Germany, but the Americans really did end up in a less than challenging group. In the other pool, Sweden was full marks for first, beating Canada in a shootout. The Russians, having lost handily to both Canada and Sweden to begin the tournament, seemed an also-ran, taking third after beating Czech Republic and Norway.

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