Not too much recent Leafs news, so I’ll string together a pair of thoughts this morning into one digestible post. These might be a little more apparent throughout the summer as we continue our in-depth analysis of players and coaches that will make up the 2012-13 Toronto Maple Leafs.
The big news yesterday was a few more names added to the alumni rosters. In addition to guys like Wendel Clark, Darryl Sittler and Doug Gilmour, the Maple Leafs added Russ Courtnall, Bill Derlago, Bob McGill, Vincent Damphousse, Dave Ellett and Gary Leeman to their roster.
It’s a pretty solid contingent of guys, even though I never really thought of Damphousse as a Leaf. But he played his first five years in Toronto—394 games—which is actually one more than Dougie, so there you go.
Although the major story from the additions to the rosters come from the home side. The Detroit Red Wings made quite the splash by announcing the “Russian Five” would be joining the squad:
Among the nine additional players participating in the contest, three are from Detroit’s famed “Russian Five,” including Vyacheslav Fetisov, Igor Larionov and Sergei Fedorov. Vladimir Konstantinov is also scheduled to be on hand. The five-man unit for the Wings was put together by Bowman more than two decades ago.
“This will be the first time Winter Classic for me,” Larionov said. “And I’ve never been to a game at Michigan Stadium, but of course, I’ve seen the games on TV and I’m looking forward to watching that game and lacing them up to play in front of 40,000 (fans) at Comerica Park. That will be nice.”
The unit included defensemen Festisov and Konstantinov, and forwards Larionov, Fedorov and Vyacheslav Kozlov. The “Russian Five” played an instrumental role during the Red Wings’ success in the late-1990s. Detroit won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and ’98 and Fetisov (2001) and Larionov (2008) were ultimately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. [NHL.com]
It’s a nice touch by the Wings to bring out Konstantinov. His promising NHL career was cut short at the age of 29 after a limousine accident following the team’s 1997 Stanley Cup victory. Konstantinov suffered head and spinal injuries and was put into an induced coma, never playing hockey again.
Of course Konstantinov won’t be able to play, but he’ll be part of the proceedings.
Finally, I sort of missed it last earlier in the week due to the minor nature of the news. The Leafs re-signed Mike Zigomanis and Will Acton to AHL deals and added defenceman Dylan Yeo, who spent time with Oklahoma City last season. The team also gave a two-way deal to Mark Fraser, who played 20 games plus playoffs at the end of the season with the Marlies.
There’s no real big news involved in this. It hardly affects the Leafs’ roster going ahead. Well, perhaps not directly. With the addition of Keith Aucoin from a week ago and upping Zigomanis, the Marlies have found their top two centremen. Brian Burke often likes to talk about an internal solution for the Leafs at centre, so perhaps this means that the team sees one of Joe Colborne or Nazem Kadri to make the jump.
Finally, we use a lot of numbers around here that may be unfamiliar concepts to some. If you have a question about any of the advanced metrics we use to evaluate teams and players, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send me an email to the address listed in my bio. I like to work with readers unfamiliar with advanced hockey statistics to get them more involved.