Archive for January, 2011

Maple Leafs Surging, Goaltender James Reimer, Grabovski line Key.

January 11th, 2011 1 Comment

With last night’s 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings the Toronto Maple Leafs have now won four of their past five matches, leading many Leaf fans to suggest that their beloved Buds are indeed turning the corner on their way to respectability. While it is still a tad early to be throwing accolades towards the Blue and White, one cannot help but see that the Leafs now occupy 26th spot in the standings, leaving them just one point away from surpassing the Florida Panthers, which, while the Panthers still have a game in hand, would bring the Buds out of a lottery pick position. For Leafs general manager Brian Burke, having his team finish out of a lottery position would be the first step towards that elusive respectability, both in terms of on-ice product and with regard to his

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Is The Mikhail Grabovski Line The Best 2nd Unit in The NHL?

January 8th, 2011 1 Comment

Prior to the Toronto Maple Leafs tilt against the Atlanta Thrashers Friday night I was a guest of Louis Pisano on “Get The Puck Out” which airs on MorencySports.com, where, amongst other things, Lou and I debated the validity of Toronto’s second line of Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin being the NHL’s best second unit. Low and behold, Grabovski, Kulemin and MacArthur went out and scored a combined six goals and ten points against the Thrashers, helping the Maple Leafs pound a very good Atlanta squad by a final score of 9-3. MacArthur and Grabovski are first and second in scoring for the Maple Leafs this season, with 33 and 32 points, respectively. Kulemin is close behind with 29 points, which gives the Maple Leafs second unit a combined 94 points on the season. There may very well

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Brayden Schenn’s Dominance AT WJHC Should End All Trade Rumors

January 6th, 2011 No Comments

With the World Junior Hockey Championships officially in the books, the focus once again turns to the NHL where more than a few teams could use a facelift. One of the teams that has consistently been in the trade rumors this season has been the Los Angeles Kings, and more times than not, Brayden Schenn’s name seems to come up amongst the players going the other way. Schenn has had a busy season, spending time with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League, Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, eight games with the Kings and of course his time with Team Canada at the WJHC. Schenn has struggled at the pro level, scoring three goals and seven points with the Monarchs, while posting just two assists in eight games with the Kings. That said, with all the

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WJHC: Canada’s Loss To Russia Brings Questions

January 6th, 2011 1 Comment

Wednesday night Russia disposed of Team Canada in the gold medal game in what many are calling the greatest collapse in World Junior Hockey Championship history. With Canada up by a score of 3-0 entering the third period, few hockey fans were giving Russia any kind of chance of beating the mighty Canadians, who, while not perfect through 40 minutes, had dominated the Russians to that point. Artemi Panarin and Maxim Kitsyn scored just 13 seconds apart to start the third period and, by the 04:56 mark of the third the Russians had tied the game at three, stunning the almost all-Canadian crowd and the nation in the process. After Russia tied the game, Canada looked to have lost a step, lost it’s ‘mojo’ and, in some people’s minds, just plain stopped skating. Inevitably, Russia outplayed the Canadians, went ahead

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Team Canada Dominates Team USA

January 4th, 2011 No Comments

The moment Team Canada dropped a 6-5 decision to the United States in last years gold medal game at the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships there was one thing on the players and the nation of Canada’s minds—revenge. It’s not often Canada loses a game at the WJHC, even rarer that they should lose a gold medal game, so Canada would have to be excused for having a hate on for their neighbors to the south. Heading into the 2011 WJHC the United States were to prohibitive favorites to repeat as gold medal champions, a feat the US had never accomplished at the WJHC. On the other hand, Canada had defended it’s gold medal performance five times (2005-2009) coming into last years final against the American’s, a feat Canada had accomplished on one other occasion (1993-1997). While it’s never easy

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2011 World Junior Championships:Team Canada vs. Team USA—PREVIEW

January 3rd, 2011 No Comments

Anyone who watched last years World Junior Championships doesn’t need a reminder as to which nation won the tournament, especially if you are a Canadian. Heading into the tournament Canada had won five straight gold medals (2005-2009), tying the mark they set in the mid-90’s (1993-1997). For some, the World Juniors was becoming a bit of a bore. Canada had medaled 18 out the the previous 20 years, accumulating 12 golds, four silver medals and two bronze medals along the way. The looming question for many, was Canada’s dominance at the WJC hindering interest from the other countries, or, more importantly, was Canada’s dominance hindering the interest from the United States? Don’t get me wrong, Canada lost the gold medal to the United States in the 2004 edition of the WJC in Helsinki, Finland, but the win failed to spike

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