Archive for July, 2012

Is It Time For Dion Phaneuf To Send A Message?

July 31st, 2012 13 Comments

When Dion Phaneuf arrived in Toronto after being traded from the Calgary Flames it was reported that he walked straight into the locker room, cranked the music up on the stereo and went about his business, sending a message that this was his locker room now and anyone that didn’t like it could shove it. Phaneuf followed that up by having one of his best games as a Maple Leafs when he hit everything that moved, chirped countless opposing players, yelled at a few teammates and even dropped the gloves against Colin White (winning the fight) while helping the Blue and White defeat the New Jersey Devils 3-0 back on February 2nd, 2010. If you have watched Phaneuf over his time with the Leafs nights like February 2nd have been few and far between. Sure, as team captain and with

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Five Players That Must Come Through For Brian Burke Next Season

July 30th, 2012 4 Comments

While the worlds focus is now on the Summer Olympics the Leafs Nation is still dialed into their beloved Maple Leafs. Loyal to a fault, fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs have hope that for the first time in what feels like a decade their beloved hockey team will finally make the playoffs. Complicating matters is the fact that just about every Eastern Conference team has made considerable improvements. The Carolina Hurricanes traded for talented centre Jordan Staal and recently signed enigmatic forward Alexander Semin to a one-year, $7.0 million contract. Those two additions alone will likely take the Hurricanes from also-rans to legitimate playoff contenders and maybe a team that will compete for the Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Penguins added a number of depth players including rugged forward Brandon Sutter (attained in the Staal trade) as well as

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Roberto Luongo and Jonathan Bernier Still Available: Why Hasn’t Burke pulled The Trigger?

July 29th, 2012 16 Comments

When the 2011-12 season opened Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke was optimistic that James Reimer and the goaltender formally known as “The Monster” Jonas Gustavsson could hold the fort between the pipes for the Blue and White. Injuries to Reimer and inconsistent play from both netminders proved Burke wrong and now, 12 months later, Burke seems content to start the season with two relatively unproven goaltenders again. Of course Burke is on the record as saying he would like to start the season with a more experienced puck stopper in place, but his actions (or lack thereof) continue to say quite the opposite. For much of the summer the Toronto Maple Leafs have been the subject of many trade rumors. Included in those rumors are a deal that would send disgruntled netminder Roberto Luongo from the Vancouver Canucks

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Which Prospects Will Crack The Maple Leafs Lineup?

July 28th, 2012 No Comments

It’s the dog days of summer and with little in the way of hockey news to write up our thoughts have turned to the Toronto Maple Leafs prospects. Say what you will about Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, but when it comes to assembling young talent he seems to have done a decent job. Looking at the Maple Leafs list of prospects you get the sense that the Blue and White will be a very competitive team in the coming years. That said, are there any prospects ready to make an impact at the NHL level for the upcoming season, is there another Jake Gardiner (who burst onto the scene last season and performed exceptionally well last season) amongst them? The Maple Leafs top prospects features a good mix of skill and brawn with the likes of forwards Matt

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Nazem Kadri: Toronto Maple Leafs Or Bust?

July 27th, 2012 No Comments

If you have been following the career of Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Nazem Kadri you know it is hardly a stretch to suggest that the upcoming season could very well be his make it or break season with the Maple Leafs. Originally drafted seventh overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Kadri has dressed for the Maple Leafs just 51 times since being drafted. When Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke drafted Kadri he was seen as a top-end player with plenty of offensive skill. Clearly, Burke drafted Kadri with the intention of grooming him to be a top-flight NHL centre; which thus far has failed to materialize. Defensive challenges are a part of just about every young player’s portfolio. For Kadri his defensive shortcomings were magnified by playing in the biggest hockey market on the planet where every

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Four Questions Facing The Toronto Maple Leafs Heading Into The 2012-13 Season

July 26th, 2012 7 Comments

When the 2012-13 NHL regular season schedule ended the Toronto Maple Leafs were once again left on the outside looking in when it came to the playoffs. While the downside of that is pretty obvious, the upside can be a little more difficult to see. One of the advantages to missing the playoffs (if there are any) is that your general manager gets an extended period of time with which to evaluate his roster. Theoretically, this should have given Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke plenty of time to plan for change, which should have included making some key roster changes. Thus far Burke has added veteran forward Jay McClement to his bottom six forwards, bought out the injury-prone Colby Armstrong, added veteran forward Keith Aucoin as a depth move and traded defenseman Luke Schenn to the Philadelphia Flyers

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