Archive for March, 2011

Does The NHL Want The Violence?

March 10th, 2011 3 Comments

All the rage in NHL circles these days seems to be about headshots, cheap shots, a lack of respect for opposing players and, of course, fighting. It’s great that the NHL seems to always be in the headlines, but with all the negative press, can the NHL really be happy with all the extra coverage? For the most part, the NHL is trying it’s best to be proactive, implementing new rules designed to punish players for acts of violence and careless behavior, including outlawing headshots. Often, these types of plays result in a player being injured for a long period of time. At the Winter Classic we all watched in horror as the NHL’s poster boy Sidney Crosby went crashing to the ice after a questionable (yet unpunished) hit from Washington Capitals forward David Steckel. For some, the NHL’s refusal

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Zdeno Chara Escapes Suspension: Did The NHL Get It Right?

March 9th, 2011 2 Comments

By now every hockey fan has heard National Hockey League Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy’s decision not to impose any supplemental discipline upon Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara for what many NHL fans perceived as a questionable hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty. While we all feel for Pacioretty (who suffered a severe concussion and a non-displaced fracture of the vertebrae on the play), the reality is Pacioretty was the victim of a hockey play and nothing else. At a towering 6’9”, 255-pounds, getting hit by Chara is like getting hit by a truck at the best of times. The fact Chara inadvertently slammed Pacioretty into a glass partition just magnified the damage Chara is capable of inflicting on opposing players. NHL hockey has been under a ton of scrutiny by the NHLPA, it’s fans, concerned

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Brooks Laich, Pascal Dupuis: Future Toronto Maple Leafs?

March 8th, 2011 1 Comment

When Brian Burke joined the Toronto Maple Leafs as their new general manager in November of 2008 he was very forthcoming about how to build a team. Burke has always felt that an NHL team should be built from the net out and, just as importantly, expects his players to be put into roles that they can succeed in. For Burke, that means creating four lines, each with a specific duty, each as important to the teams success as the next. To be fair, in a perfect world Burke’s philosophy is how all NHL teams should be built—great goaltending, complimented by four lines that know and buy into their roles. Since arriving in Toronto Burke has put his stamp on the Blue and White. Gone are many of the players that Burke inherited. In fact, of the members of the

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Tyler Bozak: Does He Still Fit Into Brian Burke’s Plans?

March 7th, 2011 1 Comment

Playing for the University of Denver out of the WCHA, Tyler Bozak did enough to catch the attention of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke and his staff of amateur scouts, resulting in Burke signing the undrafted Bozak to a healthy contract. At the time of the signing, many felt Bozak could immediately step into an NHL lineup. After 32 games of seasoning in the American Hockey League with the Toronto Marlies Bozak proved his worth by posting eight goals and 27 points through 37 games in the 2009-10 season. With a decent start to his NHL career expectations rose exponentially for Bozak. Void of a legitimate number one centre to start the 2010-11 season Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson had little choice but to catapult Bozak into the first line centre’s role. On a line with Phil

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Toronto Maple Leafs: Surging Buds Have a Shot At The Playoffs

March 4th, 2011 2 Comments

With a 10-2-4 record since the All-Star break, the Toronto Maple Leafs have gradually climbed the NHL standings to the point that the Blue and White now have a legitimate chance of making the playoffs. When I look back at my own preseason predictions, the Maple Leafs are exactly where I thought they would be at this point in the season (around 20th overall and within striking distance of a playoff spot). For the Leafs Nation, the majority of the 2010-11 season has been marred by letdowns. But an infusion of youth, a capable goaltender and a little luck now have fans, players and management singing a different tune. Gone are the calls for head coach Ron Wilson to be fired and, if I didn’t know any better, it appears as if the media and fans have stopped calling for

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Despite His Detractors, Brian Burke Is Building A Winner In Toronto

March 2nd, 2011 2 Comments

November 29, 2008. Some day this date will resonate with Toronto Maple Leaf fans everywhere as it marks the date when Brian Burke was named President and General Manager of the Blue and White and, in many respects, marks the date that the Maple Leafs organization stopped accepting mediocrity. Burke brought with him an impressive resume which includes a Stanley Cup victory in 2007 as the GM of the Anaheim Ducks, a Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey in the United States, a Harvard Law degree (1981), NHL front office experience, and the reputation of being one of the most sound executives in all of hockey. Combined, Burke brought more than 20 years of National Hockey League experience, which, in itself, is very impressive. Burke also brought a tough façade and an in-your-face attitude both on and off

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