January 27 2013 08:25AM
The first week of the NHL season is now behind us; the Best of the Nation this week includes more Luongo trade talk, Nail Yakupov's goal celebration, actual trades, and much more.
January 26 2013 08:46PM
Not often when you go into a road building against one of the conference's elite teams do you have a chance to win. Seldom do you even hold a one-goal lead into the third period.
Whether it was fatigue from playing their third game in four nights, or simply by being a group with several glaring holes in the lineup, the Maple Leafs had another third period to forget, and walk out of Madison Square Garden with a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers, falling to 2-3-0 on the season.
Toronto got out-shot, badly. They got out-chanced, badly, and after the final buzzer, they got out-scored, badly. The lone positive in this one may have been the play of one James Reimer, the 24-year old goaltender who has looked every bit an NHL starter in his appearances this season.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
January 26 2013 06:11PM
The boats are gone, and hockey lives on once again at Ricoh Coliseum. After a three week hiatus due to trade show usage of the building, the Toronto Marlies returned home for a late afternoon matchup against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. The team looked a little different than when they left, and for whatever reason, they added to that difference by wearing their away blue jerseys. What ultimately matters though is not the makeup of the team, but the result they put out, and that wasn't a very good one, falling 3-1.
January 26 2013 10:54AM
Photo Credit: Abelimages/Getty
Indubitably, Nazem Kadri is saying all the right things about his early season scoring success, and why wouldn't he? Carlyle has put his young forward in a position to succeed, unlike Ron Wilson, and Kadri is cashing in with three goals in four games and all around impressive play. Why? He's transitioned from a two-way role to an offensive role this season.
Wilson chose a tough-love approach. The coach, who was fired last March, made a habit of questioning Kadri’s commitment to defence in public, as well as his commitment to the physical demands of the NHL. (While declaring the then-20-year-old as a healthy scratch for a home game in December 2010, Wilson said Kadri lacked “hockey strength.”)
The questions about fitness lingered into training camp with Toronto’s American Hockey League affiliate last fall. But they seem to have been eased.
It's an all-around excellent piece worth reading because it shows the trust that the Toronto Maple Leafs have in their coach. Player roles are more strictly defined in this regime than the previous one. Carlyle is a stickler with his lines, his opponents' lines, his matchups and his zone matchups, and Kadri is benefitting from it.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
January 25 2013 07:20PM
Tomorrow afternoon, the Toronto Marlies will return to Ricoh Coliseum to face the Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins. This will be the team's first home game in twenty one days, with six road appearances wedged in the middle. Why? In typical minor league hockey fashion, the arena had other use, like being used as a lake for the Toronto Boat Show. A drastic transformation, which is fitting, as the team coming to play tomorrow is rather different from the one that left.
Before going into all of the differences between then and now, it's worth pointing out why this is the case. You see, the Marlies have been gone for so long, that when they left, the NHL lockout still hadn't been solved yet. I'm not talking about opening puck drop, or ratification, we were still at the point of "they're really going to lose this entire season, aren't they" thought on January 5th. Since then, we've seen contracts signed, camps completed, and NHL hockey played. Here's the aftermath: