Archive for September, 2011

Injuries Taking Their Toll On Maple Leafs Opening Roster

September 29th, 2011 2 Comments

Just when everything seemed to be looking up for the Toronto Maple Leafs three injuries have conspired to put a damper on what has been a very good training camp for many players. Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke’s prized off-season signing Tim Connolly was out of the lineup earlier this week after crashing into the boards at Monday’s practice, fellow centre Tyler Bozak is also said to be nursing some injuries and now sophomore forward Nazem Kadri looks to have injured his knee during the third period of the Maple Leafs tilt against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night. Kadri, 20, was centering Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul (Toronto’s first line wingers) when the injury took place, an opportunity he got due to the Connolly injury. While the injury to Connolly is considered to be mostly a precautionary measure and

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Great Expectations: Brian Burke Has The Toronto Maple Leafs On Right Track To Make The Playoffs

September 28th, 2011 No Comments

When Brian Burke took over at the helm as the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager he promised a number of things. First, he promised that the cottage-like environment would be made a thing of the past by making sure the organizational depth was improved from top to bottom. Second, he promised to ice a much more physical team and third, he promised to turn the Maple Leafs into a perennial contender. Thus far, after three seasons of trades, tweaks and free agent signings, Burke has little in the way of success with which to measure his work, but there is hope that the Buds are on the right track. Under Burke’s watch the Maple Leafs have consistently iced one of the worst squads in all of hockey, finishing 24th in 2008-09, 29th in 2009-10 and 22nd in 2010-11. While the

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Toronto Maple Leafs Youngsters Making Headway

September 22nd, 2011 2 Comments

We are only a few games into the 2011-12 NHL pre-season, but already there are a few youngsters that are starting to impress the Toronto Maple Leafs brass and fans. Forward Matt Frattin had two goals on Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Jake Gardiner looks very close to being NHL ready, while big body goaltender Ben Scrivens hasn’t looked out of place. With a little seasoning at the AHL level with the Toronto Marlies it appears as if both Frattin and Gardiner will be with the big club at some point this season, while Scrivens may need a full season with the Marlies before he gets consideration with the big club. Gardiner’s smooth skating, hockey sense, ability to move the puck and uncanny calm and collected style of play have many fans and teammates throwing praise at the

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Mike Komisarek: Time To Shine Is Now

September 17th, 2011 6 Comments

With the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp commencing on Friday there are a few key battles to keep your eye on, none of them more important than the third defensive pairing—that is, if your name is Mike Komisarek. Since joining the Maple Leafs as a free agent in the summer of 2009 Komisarek’s play has been nothing short of disappointing. Through 109 games Komisarek has registered a total of 14 points, 126 penalty minutes and a combined minus -17 rating with the Leafs. Injuries and poor play have contributed to Komisarek’s paltry numbers, but where Komisarek has really fallen short is in the physical department. At the time of Komiarek’s free agent signing he was thought by many to be one of the most punishing hitters in all of hockey and one of the tougher players on the ice night-in,

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Luke Schenn Signs Extension With Maple Leafs

September 16th, 2011 No Comments

The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that they have signed defenseman Luke Schenn to a five year deal that will reportedly see the hard-hitting defenseman make an average of $3.6 million. Originally drafted in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Schenn has quickly turned into the Leafs top shutdown defenseman, leading the team with 168 blocked shots and 251 hits- of course Schenn also led the NHL in giveaways with 95, but who’s counting, right? Schenn is known for his easy going attitude and strong leadership skills. If not for the presence of Dion Phaneuf he could easily be the Buds best candidate to be Captain. Through 231 career games with the Blue and White Schenn has amassed a total of 12 goals and 41 assists, including a five goal, 17 assists (both career highs)

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Is The NHL Doing Enough To Battle Depression?

September 5th, 2011 2 Comments

Like Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien before him, the news of Wade Belak’s death hit the hockey community like a slap in the face. All three former NHL players had links to drug abuse, depression or a combination of both, all three leave the NHL and it’s fans scratching their collective heads as to why these seemingly strong men chose death over the disease of drug abuse and/or depression. In light of the uncanny amount of death involving NHL enforcers, many players are choosing this time to chime in on their experiences as enforcers, acknowledging their roles to be lonely, dangerous and, for many, a nightmarish existence. Former NHL pugilist Georges Laraque recently rang in on the topic of being an enforcer in the NHL and, by all accounts, he doesn’t think it’s a walk in the park. “People don’t understand

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