April 06 2011 10:42AM
These four guys (The Rocket, Gordie, Walter and Number 99) sure know what an MVP is. On Tuesday night, just as the Maple Leafs’ playoff hopes were gasping their final breath, I read a tweet that said something like, “Reimer’s play since January stole Leafs’ MVP crown from Mikhail Grabovski.” And, of course, that got me thinking. Is that so? Who was the Leafs’ MVP this season? Reimer was certainly the most popular player, and the guy most responsible for the late-season charge. But, over the entire season, who was the Leafs’ MVP?
April 06 2011 08:24AM
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 21185
James Reimer had to be solid in net once again, as the Capitals attacked frequently and racked up 28 scoring chances on the night. Meanwhile, the Leafs got just 1 PP scoring chance in limited time, the goal by Kulemin. Reimer turned away all of the top scoring chances and held the Caps to just two goals, with 2nd one deflecting off Luke Schenn on what looked like a harmless play. There seems to be more of these funny bounces occurring in Leaf games lately.
Pension Plan Puppets
April 05 2011 09:43PM
In tonight's 3-2 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals, Nikolai Kulemin joined Phil Kessel as a 30 goal scorer. Taking a pass on the wing from Clarke MacArthur he cut inside and rifled a wrist shot past Neuvirth to become the first Maple Leafs' born and bred 30 goal scorer in a long time. How long? The last time a player drafted by the Leafs scored 30 goals for the Leafs was 1998-99 when Sergei Berezin notched 37 goals.
When Nikolai Kulemin came to North America he came with a strong pedigree. He was the Russian Super League's playoff MVP with Mettallurg Magnitogorsk and came with a glowing scouting report courtesy of Dave King before he crossed the pond:
Everybody would assume that Malkin made Kulemin a great player. It was a combination of both players. Malkin's a great player, but Kulemin could really play with Malkin, read off Malkin. He's just a really good, really complete player. Any NHL organization that's got this man has a good player.
He's a two-way hockey player. He's got the ability to add to your offence. He can make good plays, he can also score. Beyond that, what really impressed me, was his defensive anticipation. His ability to read the game defensively and make the right play.
That is probably the kind of guy you'd want to talk to before writing a story about the newcomer. You could also just admit you don't know what to expect. Or you could be a moustachioed asshole, take the most ludicrous prediction possible and insult an entire fanbase. You might not want to do that because when he pots his thirtieth goal of the season you will probably look like a dummy.
April 05 2011 06:32PM
The Dion Phaneuf wearing the blue and white in Toronto is not the same Dion Phaneuf who was a finalist for the Norris Trophy in 2007-08. Believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
April 05 2011 02:42PM
A lot of things are about to change for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not their playoff predicament. That's sealed, whether or not they run the table in the final three games of the season. They are not going to participate in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the sixth season in a row. The Rangers' win on Monday night, over Boston, made it impossible for Toronto to catch the New Yorkers. The best they can do now is tie Buffalo at 90 pts, and edge them out based on season series. Not gonna happen. The six-year, non-playoff streak is, by far, the longest such streak in Leafs' history. But there are more promising aspects on the horizon than there have been in years. And one of the biggest changes coming is that the Leafs are going to stop relying on other mediocre teams to lose in front of them for Toronto to gain success.