What they're saying: Morgan Rielly

Cam Charron
August 14 2012 10:58AM

Original source Toronto Sun

What I like about the Canada-Russia Challenge is that it's giving us a good look at several of the members for Team Canada at the World Juniors, playing together on the same team. We get to know a little about the style that coach Steve Spott is going to bring to the table, and, if any of the first three games are any indication, the Canadians are going to play a very up-tempo game wherein they activate the defence often.

That's good news for Leafs fans. Morgan Rielly, the No. 5 overall pick from June is on the team and he's an offensive defenceman with good skating instincts and he looked pretty good in Game Three. Here's a brief rundown on what people are saying:

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Watch Morgan Rielly's Game Three assist with Russian commentary

Cam Charron
August 13 2012 08:47PM

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Dion Phaneuf: Miracle worker?

Cam Charron
August 13 2012 11:41AM

Somebody ask Stephane da Costa how his rookie season went.

It's been 925 days now since Brian Burke pulled the trigger on arguably his best deal: On January 31, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded Matt Stajan, Ian White, Jamal Mayers and Niklas Hagman for Fredrik Sjostrom, Keith Aulie and, of course, Dion Phaneuf. Phaneuf has become the Captain of the team and the clear #1 defenceman, while White was the only player going in return who has managed to make himself worth anything in this league. He played with Nick Lidstrom in Detroit.

Aulie is since gone, traded for Carter Ashton, and Fredrik Sjostrom is no longer. The only remaining piece of this deal is the 6'3" 214-lb rugged Phaneuf, who has calmed down since joining the Leafs and has become a strong two-way force who plays against tough competition.

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Nation Radio - August 11, 2012

August 13 2012 09:35AM

We're in the midst of the interminable mid-August hockey lull, and news is sparse. But neither CBA uncertainty, nor a lack of material can deter Allan Mitchell! On this week's episode of Nation Radio, Allan is joined by the likes of player agent Tom Lynn, Andrey Osadchenko, Nations overlord Kent Wilson and Scott Reynolds of NHLNumbers and Copper and Blue. Allan and his guests breakdown the news of the week, gush about Nail Yakupov's play at the Subway Super Series and, of course, suss out some reasonable expectations for Jordan Eberle.

This is Nation Radio.

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The Leafs and neutral-zone play

Cam Charron
August 13 2012 07:02AM

Xs and Os from The Backhand Shelf's Whiteboard section

If you've been reading this blog all summer, you'd probably be aware that I'm not too optimistic about the Leafs' chances next season. It's not that I think the team lacks leadership and stability and the character required to win, I just don't think the team has enough talented players to roll out a competent top nine forward group and top four defence. There are some good pieces there, but overall, the team needs to focus its efforts on improving the high-end skaters.

The Leafs haven't gotten expressly worse this offseason and I think generally Brian Burke has done a good job in a vacuum with the limited assets. The acquisition of James van Riemsdyk was a very good one, but the team still has some major holes. Van Riemsdyk is a good hockey player, but he won't necessarily help the Leafs in their most pressing issue: the fact the team is a bottom-third team in puck possession.

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