The first rookie tournament game between the Maple Leafs prospects and the prospects on the BlackHawks is underway at 7pm est tonight, and this should be the first live look at the highly anticipated 8th overall draft pick William Nylander.
There are many people who believed he was not the best choice at that position in the draft, but with the raw talent from the son of former NHL veteran Michael Nylander still available, it would be detrimental to an organization which is known for its lack of young, pure, high end potential, to pass on in favor of a lesser skilled more sure bet prospect.
With Nylander already having experience playing with men when he played 35 games in the Allsvenskan league, and then 22 games for Modo of the highest competition (SHL), you would have to assume he should be able to produce favorable results now back playing with kids, and younger players in their early 20's.
He will skate on a line with David Broll and Carter Verhaeghe, but has been reported to be possibly his only game in the rookie tournament, so it may be hard to actually form a good opinion on his expectations so far this year.
Hope you enjoy
The recent talk about Luongo on the move is obvious. He wants out. Canucks management want him gone. Theres no secrete about it, and its been public for months now.
I want to just straight to the point of my blog here. Short and sweet. There are many factors in determining the value of Luongo in trade
-33 years old
-10 years left on his contract
-53.3 million left to pay him
-Luongo has a FULL NTC if he wishes
-Was reported he would only waive to a short list of teams
Do I even have to continue here? Luongo clearly has the keys to the drivers seat, and has locked the doors on the Canucks management. Vancouver GM Gillis has done a great job so far IMO trying to build his value and not look desperate, but really at the end of the day, every GM in the league interested in Luongo knows its only a matter of time until they cave. Circle the pray until they fall.
As soon Cory Schneider becomes a RFA on July 1st theres no doubt people will offer a big contract to him. What will that do to Vancouver? This about it. Someone offers 5 mil per. Then they have 10.33 million in goalies next year and are forced to basically give Luongo away for nothing because their backed into the corner and their hand is shown. Right now all they can play is the "well we can keep Luongo if we want, and we didnt decide yet".
So lets say two complete idiots were to suggest the Leafs would give Jake Gardiner, Luke Schenn, and the 5th overall pick to have Luongo, would you laugh? or would you feel weird laughing at someone so clueless?
None of either Schenn, Gardiner, or the 5th overall pick will be traded for Luongo, and even if he were to be traded to another team, no other team would be giving anything of value for Luongo. The contract/age/situation are not even CLOSE to in favour of the Canucks organization, and soon enough when hes traded, you will see
Im guilty as well as many in thinking James Reimer was an NHL #1 goalie after the stretch last year, and its obvious Burke thought the same. But the difference is I get paid for cutting sheetmetal as a day job, and Brian Burke gets paid to made the Toronto Maple Leafs win hockey games.
Night after night lately, loss after loss, 99.34% of Leafs fans continue to blast Ron Wilson, James Reimer, Luke Schenn, or my my favortie creative one, they choose to blame the NHL for having a magical hit out against the Leafs with the refs. But for some reason people ignore the fact that Matt Stajan, Tyler Bozak, and a dead Tim Connolly were out starting #1 centers..........Vesa Toskala, Jonas Gustavsson, JS Giguere, and James Reimer were our starting goalies.....and a bunch of career AHLers (love them but still) were our PK specialists. How the HELL are people not seeing what I seeing here? This is shades of Vancouver where Burke refused to get another goalie other then Dan Cloutier and it led to his dismissal.
The only problem this time is, hes made 3 gigantic holes and not just one. With the PK now hitting new lows, and about the same success rate of the "pull out" method of birth control, I dont know how long this can go on for. James Reimer may be a great NHL goalie someday, but right now its clear hes just an average goalie who is developing and coming off a serious injury. What does Burke do? Bring up a few players from the Marlies who will clear waivers they have such low value, and expect them to turn the PK around like a miracle. Well it doesnt work like that Brian, Im sorry.
Until he does something, I dont think anyone should be blaming anyone but him. Sorry Brian Burke, but this mess is your fault.
With the scare of Tim Connolly two games ago where he looked to get a skate kick in the back, and left the ice briefly, a flash of the 2011-12 Leafs flew through my mind. Once the collisions happened, most fans (me included) immediately thought his knee was blown out, and with those types of injuries the words "season ending" crossed my mind.
Right then i thought, "are we really in for another year of bluffing the #1 center spot". As if 2 full years wasnt enough, I could NOT go another year with Phil Kessel playing with a #2-3 center and trying to win more games then we lose. I hope Burke and Wilson get the vibe as well.
Tyler Bozak is off to a great start, and for the most part has played with Kessel and Lupul on the top line. Kessel lead the NHL in both goals and points for over 2 months to start the year and a lot had to do with the Chemistry of the three players. But lately Kessel has (somewhat) cooled off and with Connolly coming right back into the game 5 mins later Friday night, Im stuck wondering why we dont just end the madness and have the top line we were suppose to from July 2nd when Connolly signed. The Leafs have cooled off as a whole team to be honest, to the point where 9th place is only 2 points back. I think Ron Wilson has to forget the Chemistry Bozak and Kessel had to start the year and ice the lineup we expected from day one with the men Brian Burke has brought here. He has to search for that 2nd line domination from "Mac and the USSR" last year to go for a two top line attack, and allow Tyler Bozak to play a 2-3 role like he should and like he would fit in even on a championship team.
So basically, Im sick of the "good enough" outlook, and I want the "Best" to be what we search for. My lineup for the next stretch would be:
Let the guys who were suppose to play, play.
At one point I looked at the shots on goal and they were 22-9 for the Leafs....while the game stayed at 0-0. How is that even possible? Why doesnt someone go Gionta on his ass? After keeping the Canes on the game for a few periods, I couldn't help remember about the sarcasticcomment Eric baby face Staal had for Kessel last year at the All Star game. Did I just smile? Helllllllll yes I did. -18....sorry son, thats ACTUALLY not that good. Its actually quite bad. So this year while Kessel goes into the All Star game leading in votes and your sitting at home eating stale bagel bites, you can remember that night.
As for the game, I cant help but wonder why every year Carolina is "suppose to make the playoffs". If these so called hockey experts had a clue they would have seen this bombshell of a team when they iced it on day one. The Leafs didnt really seem to be playing at 100% but still were walking all over them and controlling the game. Nice to see and hoping some of the confidence will spill over to the next few games at home. Other then Ward, the team was MIA in my opinion for most of the game.
Overall a good game played, and with Timmy getting the goal late in the 3rd to open the scoring, Poinkarovsky trying to be cool in the last few mins, then Timmy ending it on overtime, we were treated to a great game.
The Leafs are now 16-11-3 with 35 points in 30 games. Not really where you WANT to see them, but well above the last three seasons, and well on their way of making a legit playoff hunt battle in a few months.
They now wait until Friday to play in Buffalo where hopefully Connolly can continue his hot streak while the Sabers office wonders why they are paying Leino the 4.5 mil they refused to pay Tim while he skates around the ice scoring at a stay home defense pace.
(please remember to feel free to make your own posts and I will publish them. If not then go be a Habs fan!)
Ouch! That Stings: Feeling the Loss of Tim Brent, and a Possible Shot Blocking Replacement (by site user gunner_36)
If he hadn’t done so already, Tim Brent gained the respect of Leafs fans everywhere on the night of February 3, 2011. It was a shift that made Brent the winner of TSN’s “No Guts No Glory” award for the 2010-11 regular season. While down two men on the penalty kill, late in one of the most important games of the year, Brent put on a “shot blocking tour de force,” as proclaimed by James Duthie of TSN. Shot after shot was fired at the Toronto net, and each time the piece of vulcanized rubber caromed off of some part of Brent’s body. Even Eric Staal, who has a Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold and a 100 point season to his credit, couldn’t get a puck by him after multiple tries. Finally an exhausted Brent was able to swat a loose puck down the ice and limp over to the bench. His shift was over. His teammates were in awe even as they congratulated him; the majority of the 19,220 people filling the Air Canada Centre that night responded with a standing ovation. It was the kind of shift that every Leafs fans wants to be from a player on their team.
The 27-year-old Brent, a native of Cambridge, Ontario, proved to be an effective fourth line center all year for the Leafs. He spent some time as Toronto’s third line center, where he was able to get the job done but it was a role he was not as comfortable in. Brent also spent some time towards the end of the season (after the Kaberle trade) playing the point on Toronto’s dismal power play. Considering how far over his head he was playing, Brent did a terrific job. He tried to play things safe yet also did an adequate job of moving the puck and setting up other players for one-timers. It’s a position he absolutely should not have been playing in, so any level of success in that area should be considered a bonus; any deficiencies in that area should be omitted......