The death of truculence: A look at the Leafs' fourth line

Cam Charron
October 31 2012 11:14AM

There's been a lot of discussion on various blogs lately, predominantly the Backhand Shelf and our sister site NHL Numbers, on how fourth lines are composed. I thought it might be interesting to look at the composition of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it appears to be that the thought process behind the team's fourth line has become more clearly a line where the Leafs want to put good players instead of bad players.

The addition of David Steckel last season showed a clear leap on the part of the Leafs towards making their fourth line more serviceable and less dependent on the grinders and fighters Brian Burke supposedly loves. Just a general look at the Leafs that got the ice-time in years from 2009 through the present shows this shift.

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Tyler Bozak goes blackface

Cam Charron
October 30 2012 09:45PM

Image via @wraparoundcurl 

Nobody's perfect, but I figured I'd leave this image up. Tyler Bozak tweeted out the picture, then deleted, but it was caught by a Leafs fan who posted it on Tumblr. Not too much to write, considering Thomas Drance at Canucks Army wrote the necessary words last year:

Here's the point to me: blackface halloween costumes are racist at worst, and woefully ignorant at best. They're in indefensible poor taste and any smart person knows it. There's context here though, hockey players and the world they inhabit isn't always enlightened. Just based on Bissonette's usually excellent twitter account you can infer some borderline medieval attitudes towards topics like in-game toughness, and women. Up until tonight I wouldn't have included "ethnic minorities"(*) on that list, but the fact that one of the most "with-it" NHLers wasn't wise to the shit-storm that would ensue when he tweeted out a photo of a teammate in blackface is baffling, revealing and sad. 

Those words will live on in infamy across this network. There's no article here, it's been written already. Keep the comments clean.

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Joffrey Lupul may have signed with a KHL team

Cam Charron
October 30 2012 12:00PM

Remember when the Kontinental Hockey League swore that the only NHLers who would be allowed to seek lockout shelter playing for Russia's top-flight league would be the ones who met an admittedly not-so-stringent criteria?

Again, here's the KHL's own criteria:

- Has played no fewer than 150 games in the NHL over the last three seasons; 
- Has experience of playing in the KHL; 
- Represented his country at one of the last two IIHF World Championships, World Junior Championships or the Olympics; 
- Is a Stanley Cup winner, a Stanley Cup finalist, or a winner of one of the individual prizes awarded by the National Hockey League at the close of the season.

You'll notice that none of these criteria apply to Joffrey Lupul, but rumours have surfaced suggesting that Lupul is off to Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, probably because Lupul told Sportsnet last night of his intention to sign with the club, but nothing official has been announced.

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Tyler Biggs: In General

Gus Katsaros
October 30 2012 08:43AM

Tyler Biggs is in the spotlight early in his Ontario Hockey League career and I wanted to put up a few thoughts on the Leafs first round draft pick.

Drafted outside of the grasp of the agreement restricting players entry directly into the Amercian Hockey League, Leafs 1st round selection in 2011, (22nd overall) Biggs had the option of leaping directly on to the Toronto Marlies. Aside from size, Biggs wasn’t ready for the AHL.

Suiting up for Oshawa of the Ontario Hockey League seemed the logical placement.

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KHL Highlights: Yakupov, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Backstrom, Kane, Hagman all put up points, and much more!

Steve Dangle
October 29 2012 10:08PM

 

There was an insane amount of KHL hockey today. Like I've been editing for hours and hours. If anyone says there's "no hockey" I'm going to have to punch them with my exhausted and carpal tunnel syndrome-stricken hands.

Enjoy!

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