Archive for December, 2011

Kadri’s Time To Shine Is Now

December 21st, 2011 No Comments

November’s AHL player of the month and former first round draft choice of the Toronto Maple Leafs (seventh overall) Nazem Kadri has been called up by the big club and is expected to be in the lineup when the Maple Leafs play host to the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night. Kadri, who has been called up by the Maple Leafs numerous times amongst great hype in the past only to quickly fizzle out, has been given yet another opportunity to shine. With Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul supplying most of the Maple Leafs offense this season, there is plenty of room for a player of Kadri’s considerable offensive talent—the question is, will Kadri showcase his talents this time around or simply fall short of expectations for the umpteenth time? The road to the NHL has not been easy for Kadri. Injuries,


Little To Cheer About In December For Maple Leafs

December 17th, 2011 5 Comments

Heading into December we predicted that the Toronto Maple Leafs were entering a make or break month where their playoff aspirations were concerned. Case and point— 11 of the Maple Leafs 13 games in December were to be against Eastern Conference foes, thus there was little room for error for the Buds. Six games into the December schedule and the sad reality is the Maple leafs have not been good enough, posting just two wins in their past six, including loses to the Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres. The Maple Leafs recent lackadaisical play has seen the Blue and White fall dangerously close to being out of as playoff spot for the first time this season. In today’s parity filled NHL, any extended losing streak will cost you a playoff spot—a point not likely lost


Maple Leafs Need To Get Serious About Their Penalty Kill

December 11th, 2011 1 Comment

Over the past three seasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs have emerged with the 29th, 30th and 30th ranked penalty kills, respectively. The 2011-12 season has brought the same poor results for the Maple Leafs as, through 29 games the Blue and White own the 29th ranked penalty kill. The Maple Leafs penalty kill hit an all-time low when they gave up four power play goals to the Washington Capitals on Friday night. The Leafs would lose the game by a final tally of 4-2 and a little more confidence along the way. An early season injury to the defensive minded Colby Armstrong and number one goaltender James Reimer for over a month hampered the Maple Leafs’ penalty kill early on in the season. That said, plenty of blame for the Maple Leafs abysmal PK has to go to the current


Brian Burke Needs A Power Forward

December 3rd, 2011 8 Comments

When Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke joined the organization he promised to put together a tough, rugged team that would compete in the trenches. Thus far, Burke has delivered in the win column, but his team hardly resembles a team that brings pugnacity, truculence and testosterone on a daily basis. Prior to the start of the 2011-12 season we discussed the Maple Leafs shortcomings. What emerged was a resounding call for more rugged players—especially those that could own the front of the net and control the boards. Now, players like that are tough to come by. Look around at the NHL rosters and you’ll find physical players are at a premium, especially those that can light the lamp. A quick look at the Blue and White’s roster reveals that Colby Armstrong and Mike Brown are probably the Maple


James Reimer To Start Against Boston Bruins

December 3rd, 2011 No Comments

The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that James Reimer will start between the pipes tonight when the Leafs meet the Boston Bruins in the second part of back-to-back contests. Reimer, 23,  has been out of the Maple Leafs lineup with concussion-like symptoms since October 22nd, missing a total of 18 games. While the Maple Leafs have missed Reimer, they registered a reasonable 9-8-1 record in Reimer’s absence. Combined with Reimer’s 4-0-1 record, the Maple Leafs currently own a 14-9-2 record, good enough for sixth overall in the Eastern Conference and second in the Northeast Division—just one point behind the Bruins, who have two games in hand on the Blue and White. Boston has dominated the Maple Leafs in all three meetings thus far, embarrassing the Buds by a combined score of 19-5. The Bruins have owned the Leafs in the


What’s Happened To Nikolai Kulemin?

December 2nd, 2011 1 Comment

Originally drafted in the second round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft (44th overall), Nikolai Kulemin came to the Maple Leafs with decent credentials. At 6’1” and just over 200 pounds at the time he was drafted, Kulemin had the size to be an effective power forward, but would struggle to learn a more North American friendly style of play which involved playing a 200-foot game instead of just being a goal scorer. Like many Russian prospects before him, Kulemin struggled in his first season with the Maple Leafs, notching 15 goals, 16 assists for a total of 31 points in 78 games, while posting a minus-8 rating. Last season Kulemin came into camp in phenomenal shape, bringing his weight up to 220 pounds and, according to many in the locker room, looking like a beast. Kulemin’s hard work off

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