October 07 2013 10:19PM
It seems that for 29 teams in the league, it's fruitless to speculate on potential moves brought up in the press. Most trades happen serendipitously and without warning, breaking late at night or during lunch and inconvenience reporters that get no advance alert. They have to drop everything and report on something they didn't know to be true ten minutes before.
For the Maple Leafs it's a little more straightforward. The Leafs play smack-dab in the middle of downtown Toronto, the proverbial Death Star of hockey reporting. The Leafs are owned by two media companies that own collectively two sports networks, a newspaper and a magazine. The Leafs are the centrepiece of the CBC's deal with the National Hockey League, with the Maple Leafs getting the prime 7 p.m. slot most nights.
It's generally advisable to ignore any and all rumours dealing with 29 teams in the league. Not with the Maple Leafs. Information gets out quickly and spreads. When something pops up written by a columnist or a television personality, such as the Leafs looking to trade for John Bernier, or to trade Joe Colborne, you'd be wise to listen. Rumours are almost always substantiated in this town. While Dave Bolland was a surprise, David Clarkson was not, and the public got a very detailed look at the negotiation process with Nazem Kadri.
So it's with that qualifier that I feel comfortable highlighting these passages from Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts column, centring around young Jake Gardiner:
October 07 2013 01:18PM
There are a few reasons we can say the Toronto Maple Leafs started 3-0. It's not all because they're a group of 20 players collectively sticking the middle finger to math. While the Leafs are getting out-played at 5-on-5, they've been making up for it in other areas and unlike last season, a fast start can't be credited only to the team's shooting and save percentages.
Since there's little else to talk about in the way of games, new line combinations or trades, I figured today may be a good time to go through a few of them.
October 06 2013 11:42AM
Couple of points of interest...
Per David Alter, the Toronto Maple Leafs have sent Spencer Abbott and Jamie Devane back down to the Marlies so that the two can play in today's game against Lake Erie.
The move is notable because it settles a question I've had about the collective agreement. With Nik Kulemin going onto the injured reserve, Carter Ashton became the only Maple Leafs healthy scratch, putting the Leafs at 21 active players, plus the suspended David Clarkson.
October 05 2013 08:47PM
Back on March 24 2009, Curtis Joseph came in to the game with 57 seconds at the end of regulation after starter Martin Gerber got tossed. Joseph, then in a 2-2 game, made 9 saves, most of the highlight-reel variety, and Toronto would wind up winning in a shootout 3-2. Joseph was named the first star.
Jonathan Bernier may have replicated that one on Saturday night. After James Reimer uncharacteristically got pulled (in 38 starts last season, he was pulled just three times, including the game he was taken out for injury) after allowing four goals and two in quick succession, Bernier came in, stopping 15 pucks, plus two more in the shootout, and ultimately leading the Leafs to a 5-4 comeback win against the Ottawa Senators in the first Battle of Ontario game of the season.
October 05 2013 01:42PM
There are no shortage of storylines for tonight's first Battle of Ontario game of the season, but the chief of which is Clarke MacArthur's return to Toronto. MacArthur played three seasons with the Maple Leafs and was one of the team's better players during that time. He was taken off the team's second line during Randy Carlyle's pseudo-successful 2013 season, and like Mikhail Grabovski, had some strong words for the way Carlyle handled him.
I didn’t have a relationship (with him) and not many guys do,” MacArthur told sportsnet.ca and two Ottawa-based reporters. “It’s one of those things where he runs the show there and everyone knows that and that’s the way it is.
“It’s worked for him in the past, he’s got a (Stanley) Cup from that, but at the same time there’s other ways to do things, too.”