Saturday, February 28, 2009
This Article Sportsnet.Ca
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Stapleton scored in the third round of the shootout, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-4 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
"I didn't even know I scored until I curled after the shot and saw my teammates jump off the bench," Stapleton said. "I'm just fortunate it went in."
The 26-year-old Stapleton was undrafted out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and signed with Toronto last June after two seasons with Jokerit of the Finnish SM-liiga.
The Maple Leafs needed him in this one as the teams traded goals in the second round of the shootout, with Jeff Tambellini scoring for the Islanders and Jason Blake answering for the Maple Leafs.
The Islanders tied the game with 3:07 left in regulation when Jon Sim's shot from the right circle appeared to deflect off a Maple Leafs player and over Vesa Toskala's glove.
"It was a great pass from (Mark) Streit," Sim said, "and I let it rip."
Ian White, Dominic Moore, Pavel Kubina and Nik Antropov scored for Toronto, while Toskala stopped 40 shots for his third straight victory. The Maple Leafs have also won three straight in extra time.
Streit, Dean McAmmond and Sean Bergenheim also scored for the Islanders, who are 4-1-3 in the last eight home games. Joey MacDonald saved 29 shots for New York.
"It was an ugly game," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. He then joked: "I'm growing my hair long so you can't see how gray it is."
Toronto needed just 97 seconds to grab a 1-0 lead. White grabbed a puck along the left boards, moved to the top of the left circle and sent a wrist shot past MacDonald.
"We talked about getting off to a good start," Kubina said, "and we did."
The Maple Leafs did even better in the second period, increasing their lead to 2-0 with 57 seconds gone -- and on a short-handed goal, no less.
Former Islander Jason Blake led a rush and passed to Moore, who took a shot from above the left circle that got by MacDonald. The short-handed goal was just Toronto's third this season, and first on the road.
The Islanders had a golden opportunity to cut Toronto's lead when Sean Bergenheim was awarded a short-handed penalty shot at 8:23. However, Toskala made a pad save on Bergenheim.
"I just wanted to lift it a little higher, and it didn't go," Bergenheim said.
New York made it 2-1 at 14:33 on McAmmond's first goal with the Islanders as he took Bill Guerin's pass in the left circle and sent a shot by Toskala.
Bergenheim made up for the penalty shot miss by tying the game with a short-handed goal at 3:30 of the final period.
While killing a major for elbowing to Brendan Witt, Bergenheim stole the puck at Toronto's blue line and broke in alone on Toskala, beating him with a backhander.
Kubina restored Toronto's lead on the same power play at 5:35 with a slapshot from the high slot. Antropov made it 4-2 at 7:05 on a close-in shot.
Streit cut the lead to 4-3 at 11:29 when he faked a slapshot from the left circle, took one stride in, and beat Toskala with a wrist shot.
"Other than a slow start, I think our guys gave a pretty solid effort," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. "Especially considering we had a five-minute major against us, the team battled back from 4-2 and tied it up."
This Article Courtesy Sportsnet.ca
Rumors galore tonight I have spoke to someone close to the Kaberle situation and he has confirmed to me that Burke has received a very significant offer for the services of his veteran defenseman. I truly believe despite what Burke says someone will overpay for Tomas and I feel it would be a mistake for the Leafs not to move him during this rebuild.
I also have it on very good authority that it was the Colorado Avalanche that offered the Leafs the lottery pick for Luke Schenn.
In other news Nik Antropov's name has come up in Pittsburgh and Boston, apparently Burke wants Krecji from Boston or Staal from Pittsburgh in any deal for Antropov a little steep to me.
Jason Blake could be on his way to Minnesota for Niklas Backstrom if the Wild can't sign him to a contract by next Wednesday. (I feel this trade may be full of you know what)
Finally Alex Ponikarovsky and Matt Stajan have been getting significant interest from teams Anaheim and Vancouver are apparently 2 of the teams that may have need for them.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
2nd Period: Vesa Toskala has been brilliant tonight he looks very solid in the net. He is giving up no rebounds. The Leafs lost some MO though and got into some penalty trouble, close call at the end of teh 2nd with Stajan hitting the post.
3rd Period: The Leafs played a really solid period of hockey, the Rangers really didn't deserve to be in the game but were lucky enough to get it into OT.
OT Period: Good win for the Leafs
Saturday, February 21, 2009
The Air Canada Centre crowd was on its feet Saturday as he skated in and scored the shootout winner in his return to the city where he spent 13 memorable years. It gave the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on an entertaining evening.
Sami Salo and Alex Burrows scored in regulation for the Canucks (30-21-8).
Jason Blake and Matt Stajan replied for Toronto (21-26-12).
Sundin's shootout winner on Vesa Toskala came with his patented backhand move and helped earn him the first star. He received a hearty ovation when he came back out and took a bow to the crowd.
While some fans chose to boo Sundin in his first game at the arena as a visiting player, he was mostly well-received. The longtime Leafs captain was nearly moved to tears in the first period when he received a long standing ovation after a video tribute was played on the scoreboard.
The special treatment didn't carry on to the ice. Dominic Moore shoved Sundin a few times in the first period and set off a scrum in front of the Canucks bench.
The Maple Leafs emerged from that melee with a power play and Blake soon made it 1-0. He tipped Pavel Kubina's point shot by Roberto Luongo at 12:06 and pumped his fists in celebration of a team-leading 22nd goal of the season.
At the other end, Vesa Toskala was back in net for the Leafs and looked solid during his first start in a week. He stopped a long shot from Sundin in the first period and got his glove on a good power-play chance by Steve Bernier early in the second.
The Toronto goalie can't be faulted for the goal that tied the game at 9:49 of the second period. Salo's point shot deflected off Niklas Hagman's shin pad and behind Toskala on a power play.
Stajan got that back with a rare short-handed goal. He carried the puck into Vancouver's zone and beat Luongo through the legs with a low shot at 16:11. That gave him a career-best 41 points on the season.
One of the game's highlights came before the end of the second period and it didn't involve Sundin or a goal. Moore broke his stick while blocking a shot at the Leafs blue-line and managed to come in on a breakaway using his feet to kick the puck forward. He even found Blake with a pass but Luongo stopped the shot.
The Canucks were trailing 2-1 as they went to the dressing room after 40 minutes and likely got an earful from Alain Vigneault.
They started the third period with more urgency, but weren't able to generate any top-rate scoring chances. The Canucks even squandered a four-minute power play after Moore was sent off for cutting Willie Mitchell with a high stick.
It was just starting to look bleak when Burrows tied it 2-2 at 16:03. Daniel Sedin's long shot was heading well wide of the goal until Burrows redirected the puck from the slot.
The game was headed for overtime, giving Sundin a little extra time in front of the Toronto fans.
This Article Courtesy Sportsnet.ca
Thursday, February 19, 2009
2nd Period: Terrific 2nd by the Leafs for the most part, Antropov is really raising his value in this game and I'm sure Burkies cell will be ringing. I really think the Leafs need to look at there goaltending because if there is anything that has killed the Leafs this year its that. There are plenty of goaltenders available including Pascal Leclaire and JS Giguere. Should be a good 3rd Luke Schenn IMO dominated Jarret Boll in that fight and he once again is looking amazing and really showing why he will be named captain in the offseason.
3rd Period: This was a terrible period for the Leafs the same thing that happened last year is happening this year. Blowing leads, it was a terrible period from start to finish.
OT Period: OT was solid for Pogge he was the only Leaf to really show up.
SO: Nice win for CBJ
According to the paper, Burke was proposed a trade Tuesday and the team's staff is looking into the player offered.
"We're really looking into the player," Burke told the Sun.
Burke also confirmed he received an offer for Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn. While the offer included what's expected to be a top-five first-round pick, the Leafs were not interested.
"It was a short conversation," Burke said. "I asked him, 'You want me to trade a top five pick, someone who might eventually be able to play, for an 18-year-old who is playing 22 minutes a game right now?' "
Burke also acknowledged the difficulty surrounding a possible trade involving defenseman Tomas Kaberle.
Kaberle has a no-trade clause, and while the All-Star blueliner would accept a move to certain teams, Burke said "it has to be a deal that blows my doors off and that hasn't happened."
This Article Courtesy TFP
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Rookie goaltender Justin Pogge wasn't even a full period into his first start on home ice before getting jeered by Toronto Maple Leafs fans.
Even though the score was 3-0 Buffalo at that point, Pogge could really only be faulted for one of the pucks that got by him. But that didn't keep the crowd from cheering sarcastically when the 22-year-old goalie made an easy save.
"I think I probably deserved it," said Pogge. "It's just one of those things.
"Things don't go your way all the time. You've got to keep your head down and keep playing."
He played much better in the final 40 minutes, but most of the damage was already done as the Sabres skated away with a 4-1 victory on Tuesday night.
One of the most important thing the Leafs organization hopes to establish over the next two months is whether Pogge is more than just a former prospect. He's now made four NHL starts and will be back in goal when Columbus comes to town Thursday.
At this point, it's too soon to make a final judgment on him, which is why coach Ron Wilson would like the fans to be a little more patient.
"I don't know if they're expecting the way it's written up that he's the saviour of the franchise," said Wilson. "We're just trying to develop a goalie. I think (the jeers) just showed some of the frustration.
"Everyone's just got to be patient and let him grow."
Pogge is currently being given an opportunity that Brian Burke feels he hasn't really earned. The Leafs GM bluntly said as much on a Toronto radio station Tuesday, noting that the organization is "force-feeding this kid into the NHL."
It was an assessment Pogge agreed with after making 26 saves in the loss to Buffalo.
"That's the truth," he said. "If it was a playoff race, you wouldn't want to be throwing a young guy in there. I'm happy to be getting a shot at it. I'm just fortunate for the situation."
Drew Stafford led the way for Buffalo with two goals. Daniel Paille and Matt Ellis also scored for the Sabres (30-22-6), who moved into a tie for fifth in the Eastern Conference.
Pavel Kubina replied for the Maple Leafs (21-26-10).
The Sabres looked lacklustre in a loss to Carolina on Sunday and didn't come out with much energy in this one either.
If not for some great play by Ryan Miller, the Leafs would have had an early lead. The Sabres goalie made a few fantastic saves with his team a man short, sprawling around the crease and keeping out a couple sure Toronto goals.
When the Sabres finally pushed back, they managed to get some pucks behind Pogge quickly. The taunts from the crowd came after Ellis made it 3-0 by slipping a weak shot behind him.
"That's just a joke goal, you shouldn't let that in," said Pogge.
At the other end of the ice, Miller saw the whole thing as character-building. It took him a couple years to seize the No. 1 job in Buffalo and understands what a young goaltender needs to go through.
"You're going to learn a lot more from nights like this than you're going to learn, even from the American League," said Miller, who finished with 27 saves. "For him to get some experience right now is going to only help him. He's got the tools, he's got the size, it looks like he's starting to read some plays, he made a few nice saves tonight.
"But to be a consistent goalie at this level, you have to learn, you have to be in the nets, you have to be right out there. He'll come along and they're giving him every opportunity. He'll be fine."
Even Pogge acknowledged that he felt better after coming out in the second period and stopping all 13 shots he faced.
During that stretch, Kubina made it 3-1 with a power-play goal that had Leaf fans starting to think comeback. The chances of that ended with Kubina in the penalty box during the third period when Stafford got his second goal of the night.
It all added up to another loss in a season filled with many of them. The game did expose Pogge to some of the difficulties that come with playing for a franchise that is trying to rebound.
"The last four years we've had some tough times here," said forward Matt Stajan. "The fans let you know, no matter who you are."
And fortunately for Pogge, he's not headed straight back to the American Hockey League this time.
He's going to be around for the rest of this homestand and will get at least one more chance to make a better impression.
"This is great for him to go through this," said Wilson. "If it was easy, I'd be worried about him being over-confident. This is going to force him to work harder on his game and that's what he needs to do."
This article courtesy of Sportsnet.ca
Monday, February 16, 2009
He is expected to get the start tomorrow against the Buffalo Sabres, he is currently 1-2 with the Leafs and 19-14-4 with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage with the Marlies this season.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
2nd Period: Way better 2nd period by the Leafs they owned the puck for the most part. Antropov is really raising his value of late with the way he has played. Toskala looked a lot better than he did in the 1st period. I still feel however his time in Toronto is coming to an end whether it be at the deadline or the offseason.
3rd Period: The 3rd was brilliant tonight! Jason Blake was incredible and the entire 1st line scored(Antropov, Ponikarovsky, Stajan) this was one of the best efforts I've seen the Leafs give in A LONG TIME! The Leafs are not mathematically eliminated yet so Burke needs to decide on what he is going to do in the coming weeks. IMO he has to sell while guys like Antropov and Poni are scoring I think Blake should stay he has been great all season.
On these lists they will put 10 teams they would be willing to accept a trade too. Teams believed to be on the list for both players is Boston and Detroit as well as San Jose.
As per usual I will keep you all up to date.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
The Leafs were run over in Tampa tonight and they showed very little heart in this blowout victory in which Steven Stamkos and Martin St Louis both scored some high lite real goals.
I would expect that Justin Pogge will get the call up next game.
The Leafs then preceded to re-call/put on re-entry waivers F Bates Battaglia and F Boyd Devereaux.
Boyd has 9 goals and 7 assists with the Marlies this year while Battaglia has 12 goals and 10 assists.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
With the stellar play of Jason Blake and Dominic Moore raising there worth they could be the 1st moved within the coming weeks for mid round picks, possibly prospects.
When I asked about Antropov I was told "I'm surprised he is still here the way the Leafs and the Bruins have been scouting eachother" said one source from the Leafs.
Toskala is also on the short list but when I asked GM Burke himself he told me there wasn't much of a market for him as of right now. Which is believable given his play this year.
Other people to watch are Alex Ponikarovsky, Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina, and Mark Bell.
Should be an interesting couple of weeks.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
2nd Period: Jamal Mayers has his 1st in 32 games and Niklas Hagman has his 2nd of the game. Really unfortunate bounce on the Panthers goal. Ian White did not box out McClean and that lead to the puck deflecting in off of him. The PP and the PK look very solid tonight something that hasn't been seen in a while should be "Hopefully" a great defensive 3rd.
3rd Period: So we got anything but a good defensive effort! With the help of some phantom calls by the ref and also some non-calls the Leafs let the lead slide away. To OT we go.
OT Period: Ah ha ha ha ha ha!!! Another blown lead something the Leafs were famous for last year and now this year too. They lost the same game basically what I would call a mirror image to the same team they played tonight a week ago. Poor efforts lead to poor results and this is something that needs to be addressed for the rest of the season and during the offseason with some free agent signings.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Sticking with the Leafs, the team have held internal discussions involving Ray Emery. Emery is currently not in Russia, and refuses to return until they pay him, something the KHL hasn't been doing properly all season.
Final Leaf note of the day? Rumours continue that Burke will have interest in the Sedins should they hit the open market on July 1st.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Toskala made 31 saves, including a key block on a Christopher Higgins breakaway in the second period, as the Leafs downed the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 on Saturday night.
In the days leading up the game, he had been challenged publicly to play better by general manager Brian Burke and coach Ron Wilson.
"I don't waste my energy on what goes on in the media, I'm just focused on playing hockey," said Toskala. "It doesn't matter what goes on outside."
Or maybe a little, as he was well aware that the Leafs record of late with him in goal is 3-0-2, even if he allowed 18 goals in those games.
"It was the fifth game in a row I get points -- I'm happy with that," he said.
It was also a big night for rookie defenceman Luke Schenn, who scored his first NHL goal to open the scoring 14:37 into the game on a quick shot from the right boards.
"Yeah, they let me know that I hadn't scored a goal yet this year, so it was definitely nice to get it, and there's no better place than in Montreal versus the Canadiens on a Saturday night," said Schenn, the fifth overall pick in last June's draft.
The Leafs plan to hold their annual rookie night on Sunday in Florida, where they head next to play the Panthers on Tuesday, and Schenn no doubt will have to pay his share of the team dinner.
"That's all part of it," the Saskatoon native said. "It's going to be an expensive one, but when you get the rookie dinner in the NHL, that means you've made it, so it's going to be an honour to pay for it."
Nikolai Kulemin, Jeff Finger and Jason Blake, with two in the third period, also scored for Toronto (20-24-9), which rebounded from a 5-0 loss (with Justin Pogge in goal) in Buffalo this week.
Matt D'Agostini and Tom Kostopoulos scored for Montreal (29-18-6), which has lost seven of its last nine games and now heads out on its longest road trip of the season -- six games starting Monday night in Calgary. Montreal has lost five in a row away from home.
"Where do I start?" exasperated coach Guy Carbonneau said of his team's weak effort. "We've said since September that if you want to win in this league, you have to compete and you need good goaltending.
"We had that, but now we're struggling on every front. We have a tough time scoring goals and every time we make a mistake, it's in our net. That's not a good combination."
The build-up all week of a showdown between Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski and Montreal's Sergei Kostitsyn, who have feuded the last two times they met, never materialized as the coaches didn't put them out at the same time, except for briefly during a second-period Leafs power play.
"Mikhail handled it really well," said Wilson. "It was all talk."
He was not pleased to lose defenceman Mike Van Ryn with a lower body injury at 2:47 of the second when he was nudged by Max Pacioretty and fell heavily as both were racing toward the end boards. Pacioretty was called for charging.
Wilson thought he should have been given five minutes. Pacioretty said he let up on the hit.
"He'll be out for a while," Wilson said of Van Ryn, who has already missed 29 games with injuries this season, including 13 after a nasty hit by Kostopoulos on Nov. 8 in Toronto.
"The ref said he wasn't injured. I said I encourage our guys to get up if they're hurt. Unfortunately, the ref thought he wasn't hurt... . This hitting from behind stuff, they've got to fix that."
Wilson wanted his team to come out strong in the first because Montreal was weary from losing 3-2 on Friday night in Buffalo and they did, outshooting the Canadiens 18-5 and taking a 1-0 lead.
Video replay had just disallowed a Kulemin goal that was scored with a high stick when Schenn got the puck beside the right boards and threaded a low shot through traffic and between Carey Price's pads at 14:37, on Toronto's 16th shot of the period.
Montreal was on a two-man advantage when D'Agostini took a diagonal pass from Andrei Markov and shot into an open side 25 seconds into the second frame.
But Kulemin finally got his goal at 2:37, taking a pass in the slot from Lee Stempniak and scoring on a wrist shot to take the lead even though Montreal turned the tables by outshooting the Leafs 15-5.
Blake then scored his 18th and 19th of the season, the first at 3:07 on a rush down the left side when he picked the far corner and the second at 9:13 when he broke in on the right side and lifted a shot over Price from in close.
Max Lapierre and Sergei Kostitsyn had whacks at a puck in Toskala's crease before Kostopoulos put it in at 11:02.
With 1:04 left to play, Price whiffed with his glove at Finger's high, weak shot.
The Leafs continue a run of four straight road games Tuesday in Florida and Thursday in Tampa.
Carbonneau can't wait to get out of Montreal.
"It's probably the best thing for us right now," he said. "To be together for a week, to talk.
"Maybe we need to put the cards on the table and start over. We can't be worse than we are now, although we still have a good record overall."
This Article Courtesy Sportsnet
Friday, February 6, 2009
The Ducks would apparently get Pogge or Reimer in return along with a forward, I have no idea who the forward is. Apparently Burke would be looking for a pick as well in the deal.
I will keep everyone posted.
In 42 games with the Marlies this year he has 7 goals and 18 assists with a plus 1 rating.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Kaberle, 30, has a no-trade clause, but indicated that he'd accept a move if the Leafs insisted on it.
Leafs GM Brian Burke said that he "has no intention of asking those players [with no-trade clauses] to waive it," but Kaberle's situation appears different.
If Kaberle is dealt, the Leafs will likely hold on to fellow blueliner Pavel Kubina, although he is also attracting a lot of interest league-wide.
While Kaberle would accept a trade to a select number of teams, his preference is to remain a Leaf.
"He wants to stay in Toronto," Kaberle's agent, Rick Curran, told TFP this morning. "If possible, he would like very much to stay."
Curran confirmed that a list will be provided in the near future, but noted there was not a set date as to when the Leafs would want it.
"I think it's fair to say that I've had a discussion with Brian [about the possibility of waiving the no-trade clause," Curran said. "We had talked about providing him with a list of those clubs that Tomas would be receptive to being traded to."
Kaberle was almost traded last season to the Philadelphia Flyers for center Jeff Carter, but he declined the move.
Meanwhile, the Leafs are receiving much interest in a number of other players, including Nik Antropov, Jason Blake, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Vesa Toskala and Mike Van Ryn.
Toskala has been bothered all-season by groin and hip soreness, but Burke told the Toronto Star there have been "no discussions" about shutting him down.
This Article Courtesy TFP
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
If this game was a reason to start moving bodies then I don't know what would be! Burke has been silent since the May deal. I have heard many things but none of them have come to fruition as of yet.
Anyways terrible game terrible everything
Pogge will get his 3rd start of the year tonight against the Sabres veteran backup Curtis Joseph did not make the trip with the Leafs. Justin Williams may also return to the lineup tonight. He has been out a little over a month with a shoulder injury.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
2nd Period: Antropov scores his 3rd in 3 games and is on fire lately, Jason Blake also has another point. Toskala looked very sharp for someone who is having apparent groin issues, he is very square and is challenging nicely. The Dominic Moore line had to be one of the top lines in the NHL as of late they have been clicking at a torrent pace and I hope that can continue.
3rd Period: You know for some reason I saw this coming! The Leafs played terribly in front of Toskala (Not that he was any better) and Ponikarovsky ended a rather good game for him in a bad way. Stupid penalties continue to hamper the Leafs at times when they should be trying to lock up the game.
OT Period: Another blown lead and another loss, as I've been saying all season the Leafs aren't bad enough to hit rock bottom and they aren't good enough to make the postseason.