July 10 2012 11:12PM
About five months ago, Patrick Burke (scout for the Philadelphia Flyers and son of Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke), Brian Kitts, and Glenn Witman launched the You Can Play Project. As their website describes, their mission is to ensure equality, respect, and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. Since their launch, You Can Play's PSA videos have made waves around the sports world, featuring both professional and amateur athletes from the hockey world and beyond.
I recently spoke with Patrick Burke about You Can Play's involvement in its first Pride Parade, progress the project has made since its launch, and his own personal experience. Patrick also addresses the claim some people have made that his dad, Brian Burke, should not have been involved in the parade because it landed on July 1st, the opening of the NHL's free agency period.
July 10 2012 12:10PM
One thing that gets me when I'm mocking up lines for next season is I always seem to forget about Tim Connolly. There's just a lot of clutter in this lineup, and Connolly didn't have a particularly good campaign so he's easily forgettable.
Connolly's boxcar numbers are pretty lacking: he had just 13 goals and 36 points in 70 games this season, playing as a hybrid first-and-third line centreman, and clearly wasn't the answer to the Phil Kessel centreman riddle, splitting much of his time with Tyler Bozak.
He was signed to a low-risk two-year deal, so this is his last season with the $4.75M cap hit that is probably overpriced for the 31-year old. What should we expect?
Leafs Nation Podcast
July 10 2012 11:47AM
A lot of questions remain unanswered for Leafs fans. will Roberto Luongo wind up in Toronto? Could Brian Burke stun us all and make an offer to Alexander Semin? We're impatient for moves to be made, and that's what a lot of the chatter revolves around today.
Of course, the thought of the demise of the Phoenix Coyotes (and the subsequent dispersal draft) could shake things up around the league, and armchair GMs are already circling like vultures.
July 09 2012 07:18PM
As per Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star, the Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed defenceman Korbinian Holzer to a one-year deal and filed for arbitration on winger Nikolay Kulemin. [Toronto Star]
With an obvious impasse in the Kulemin case, arbitration may be the right move for a player who is coming off a percentage-stained season. Kulemin scored just seven goals in 70 games after a 30-goal season the year prior, shooting just 6.5%, an obvious career-low.
As for Holzer, his strong play with the Toronto Marlies this season earned him a one-way contract.
July 09 2012 12:39PM
For some time I have yet to figure out why Phil Kessel and Mikhail Grabovski don't see too much time together. I've posited the question before, and the common belief seems to be that you can't have two people carry the puck through the neutral zone. It represents the talents of both players, and that's that.
But I've grown a little skeptical of that theory. Grabovski is a play-driving centreman with scoring upside that Kessel, a speedy, talented winger with limited defensive qualities, needs to succeed. In 306 total minutes with Grabovski in three seasons, the Leafs have convincingly outshot their opponents, batting at a 55.9% possession rate. [Hockey Analysis]
Furthermore, if you check the "goals" link in the same link above, you'd find that Kessel and Grabovski are a +6 together, while Kessel is -18 without. I hesitate to use +/-, but the question I'd ask is "if Mikhail Grabovski and Phil Kessel are incompatible player types, why do they score so many goals when they're together on the ice?"