July 03 2012 11:26AM
What shocks me the most about living in Toronto is the way people view Phil Kessel. I've gone on about this topic before in this space. Basically, Kessel's portrayal in the Toronto media borders on unfair, but the reality of the situation is that Kessel isn't a play-driving, two-way winger and his line needs a centreman to improve its defensive play.
I've also wondered aloud on occasion as to whether a winger exists at the NHL-level that can score a high number of goals and be good enough defensively, to be the sort of player that Toronto fans expect. I found one after a search.
July 02 2012 01:13PM
If the Leafs seek to improve their Top Four defencemen via trade or free agency, it will be a surprising move, given Brian Burke's recent comments about the teams situation. In the July 1 conference call [transcript here] Burke suggested that it was a "lower priority" to upgrade the D. This doesn't match my own individual assessment of the team. There are still some possibilities for free on the market that the Leafs could bring in to upgrade the Top Four.
It's true that the major hurdles for the team are centre and goaltending, but the fact is that Toronto doesn't have four defencemen who have shown the ability to play Top Four minutes in the NHL.
July 02 2012 09:39AM
'Twas the night before a frenzy and all through the league, every pundit was prepping for long weekend fatigue...
The big day turned out to be rather uneventful, with only a few notable names finding homes. That said, it was a good weekend for the Edmonton Oilers - they won the Schultz sweepstakes and retained the still very effective Ryan Smyth on an extremely reasonable deal. Those additions and others across the Nation were set-up and discussed yesterday by LT and a wide range of guests, including Terry Jones, Tom Lynn and Bruce McCurdy.
This is Nation Radio.
July 02 2012 09:38AM
(Mark Blinch, Reuters, Original Source)
The Leafs Nation was able to procure audio of the conference call with Toronto Maple Leafs' GM Brian Burke on July 1, after the signing of Jay McClement, the re-signing of Matt Frattin, and several dollars were handed out, in Burke's estimation, that cost too much.
July 01 2012 10:25PM
Sharing the burden of a high pressure environement can often bring you closer than you might expect to people you wouldn't normally hang out with. Of course, sometimes, you're lucky enough to meet someone who is actually a decent person in this same situation, and you become something of a Bert & Ernie.
In the case of Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky, it was the (probably unfair and impetuous) expectations of Leafs' fans all across the globe that Nik and Poni should turn into superstars that provided the fertile loveground this bromance to blossom. That is, we have to assume that's why they became such friends, since fan pressure gets all the heat for negative things, so why not let it have this one win?