Archive for the ‘Player Profiles’ Category

Maple Leafs Must Find Their Identity

January 3rd, 2012 2 Comments

With his team marred in a 3-5-2 funk, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke cannot be happy with (according to his current collection of $65,429,140 worth of players. As much as December looked to be the make it or break month for the Maple Leafs, January will be equally important as the Buds will play at home in nine of their next ten games. The Maple Leafs currently own a less than stellar 8-5-4 record at Home, where they have been tentative and at times uptight. A 7-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on November 5th and a 7-1 drubbing at the hands of the Washington Capitals on November 19th account for the Maple Leafs biggest disappointments on Home ice this season, while the Buds 2-0 shutout victory over the Montreal Canadiens way back on October 6th may


Are Changes looming In Toronto?

December 30th, 2011 2 Comments

With his club marred in a 3-4-3 slide, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke must be ready to pull the trigger on a deal or two. Burke is known for making impact deals well before the trade deadline, so as to allow his acquisitions to adjust to his new surroundings in time for the playoffs. A quick look at the Maple Leafs roster reveals a talented trio of Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak (on most nights) and Joffrey Lupul on the first line, followed by a struggling second unit which often includes Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski and Tim Connolly or Clarke MacArthur. As much as the second unit has struggled, there are greater concerns on the third and fourth lines where the Maple Leafs are getting little scoring and questionable efforts in the defensive and physical departments. Injuries, inconsistent lineups


Toronto Maple Leafs Rocked By Carolina Hurricanes

December 30th, 2011 No Comments

The Toronto Maple Leafs let another two points slip away Thursday night as the Carolina Hurricanes erased a 3-1 Toronto lead en route to a 4-3 overtime victory over the Blue and White. The loss to the Hurricanes brought Toronto’s record to 3-4-3 in their past ten games and put them dangerously close to slipping out of a playoff spot. It also marked the second time the Hurricanes have beaten Toronto this season—a team that is well below the Maple Leafs in the standings. The Maple Leafs currently sit eighth overall in the Eastern Conference, but with the Winnipeg Jets, and New Jersey Devils tied with the Leafs at 41 points apiece and the Ottawa Senators (39 points) and Washington Capitals (38 points) nipping at the Buds heals, the point lost Thursday night may come back to haunt the Maple


Is The Montreal Media Out Of Line?

December 22nd, 2011 5 Comments

The recent firing of Jacques Martin and subsequent hiring of Montreal Canadiens head coach Randy Cunneyworth has sparked a huge controversy in Montreal over the fact that Cunneyworth does not speak French. Former Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau was one of the first to add fuel to the fire when he recently said that “there’s no doubt in my mind that the coach of the Montreal Canadiens has to speak both languages, at least to some extent”. Carbonneau’s comments were reinforced by Team owner Geoff Molson who was quick to point out to the Montreal fans that Cunnyworth’s position with the team was on an interim basis and that a French speaking coach would be hired next season. When you consider the comments of Carbonneau and Molson, Cunnyworth must feel like he is on a very short leash. Talk about


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


Nazem Kadri Named AHL Player Of The Month

December 1st, 2011 2 Comments

Just when you thought Nazem Kadri was all but forgotten in Toronto the London, Ontario native put together an excellent November with the Maple Leafs AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies, culminating in player of the month honors. A former first round draft pick (seventh overall 2009 NHL Entry Draft), Kadri has struggled to make the big club. Management has always maintained they believe in Kadri, but have also made it very clear that until Kadri embraces the idea of playing a 200 foot game, he will remain in the minors. Kadri scored six goals and 11 assists in November for a total of 17 points in 12 games. Kadri’s inspired play has the Marlies in first place in the North Division, which is a testament to his embracing a two-way game. Centre Joe Colborne (currently playing with the Maple Leafs) received

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