Archive for the ‘Teams’ Category

Are The Toronto Maple Leafs Improving?

February 1st, 2011 No Comments

Through 49 games last season the Toronto Maple Leafs had earned a total of 41 points, just two less than they have this season. Bolstered by the additions of Dion Phaneuf, J.S. Giguere, Fredrik Sjostrom, Keith Aulie and Luca Caputi late last season and the additions of Colby Armstrong, Kris Versteeg, Clarke MacArthur, Tim Brent, Mike Zigomanis, Mike Brown and Brett Lebda over the summer, expectations were high for the 2010-11 edition of the Blue and White. While the Maple Leafs have all but failed to improve in the points department, there are a couple of positives the team can take out of the first 49 games of the 2010-11 season, starting with a much improved power play. In 2009-10 the Maple Leafs ranked 30th on the power play with a 14 percent efficiency rate. Thus far the Buds are

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For Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, Reality Bites!

February 1st, 2011 No Comments

In a recent poll conducted by the NHLPA and Hockey Night in Canada, the Toronto Maple Leafs took a licking and Maple Leafs’ general manager Brian Burke is not too happy about it. When 318 NHL players were asked which coach they’d least like to play for Toronto Maple Leafs bench boss Ron Wilson emerged as the victor. When asked where they least like to play, Toronto ranked fifth at five percent.. It has been reported that both responses caused Burke to throw a temper tantrum for the ages. While I admire Burke’s passion, the reality is, the players are likely bang on. Wilson has long been the discussion of numerous player feuds and his “calling out” of players is well documented in San Jose and here in Toronto. While Wilson’s coaching abilities are up for discussion, it’s tough to make

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Sidney Crosby: NHL Player Poll Proves Crosby Is King!

January 31st, 2011 1 Comment

The debate over which NHL player reins supreme received plenty of ammunition this weekend when the NHLPA and Hockey Night in Canada conducted a poll of 318 current NHL players with regards to hockey issues, coaches and their peers. Questions ranged from which rink had the best ice (Edmonton) to which coach you’d most want to play for (Dan Bylsma- Pittsburgh Penguins), but in the end, there was really only one question that mattered most- what player would you build a franchise around? The overwhelming response was none other than Sidney Crosby, who received a whopping 69% of the vote. Surprisingly, Alexander Ovechkin was a distant fourth, receiving a puzzling 2% of all votes, behind Jonathan Toews (3%), Steven Stamkos (5%) and veteran defenseman Nik Lidstrom (6%). Crosby, was also voted the toughest forward to play against , the games

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In The End, All-Star Draft Was A Bore

January 29th, 2011 2 Comments

With millions of fans watching in anticipation, the NHL launched it’s first ever NHL All-Star draft in Carolina last night. For many NHL fans, there were really three or four story lines. Which player would be selected first? Would the Sedin twins be forced to play against each other? Where would their favorite player land? And, of course, which player would be selected last. With Sidney Crosby out of the All-Star festivities many expected Alex Ovechkin to be selected first—which didn’t happen (congrats Steven Stamkos!). To the surprise of many, Carolina Hurricane captain Eric Staal (who would captain one of the All-Star teams) showed a ton of loyalty when he selected Hurricane teammate Cam Ward as the first overall selection. The Sedin twins would end up on separate teams, which sets up what may very well be the first time

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Alexei Ponikarovsky: Struggling After Leaving The Toronto Maple Leafs

January 27th, 2011 No Comments

Originally drafted in the fourth round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft (87th overall) by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Alexei Ponikarovsky was seen as a little more than a project forward by most. “Poni” would have a couple of short stints with Krylja Sovetov Moscow-Russia, Dynamo Moscow-Russia and Dynamo Moscow-EuroNHL before finally joining the Maple Leafs in 2000-2001. Ponikarovsky would split the 2000-2001 season between the Maple Leafs and their AHL affiliate (then the St. John’s Maple Leafs), accumulating one goal and three assists with Toronto through 22 games, followed by a decent 36 points in 49 games in St. John’s. The 2001-2002 season saw Ponikarovsky spend 72 games with the St. John’s Maple Leafs where he scored 21 goals and 48 points through 72 games. He would spend the majority of the 2002-2003 season in St. John’s before making

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Wayne Gretzky Turns 50: Could Have Scored 100

January 26th, 2011 No Comments

Great players always strive for more. Recently asked about the greatest goal scoring season in NHL history in which he lit the lamp a total of 92 times, Gretzky lamented that the “disappointing” part about that season (1985-1986) was the fact that “the great one” only scored one goal in his final eight games. Most players would have been happy with a 92 goal season, Gretzky wanted to hit the century mark. The “Great One” owns just about every offensive record in NHL history. Most goals (894), assists (1,963), points (2,857), most points in a playoff (47), most career playoff points (252), the list goes on and on. Often referred to as the greatest player in NHL history, there are still some critic’s out there that try to detract from Gretzky’s achievements by suggesting the lack of defensive play in

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