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Best of the Nation – 12.16.12

The lockout keeps rolling on, but that doesn’t mean we lacked for quality content this week. We had another entry in our "Worst to First" jerseys series, talked about the frightening salary cap situation for a bunch of teams, looked at how forward usage by NHL coaches has evolved over the last few seasons, talked…

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Let’s talk about contraction

Contraction is a favourite concept of hockey writers around North America. For those who simply want to see higher-calibre hockey, it’s a beautiful dream – fewer teams means higher quality players at the highest level, something that can’t help but result in better hockey. Most recently, though, contraction has emerged as a preferred cudgel with…

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CBA NEGOTATIONS HAVE BEEN A FLOP, BUT NOW TAKE A TURN

It took a long time, but it looks like we’re now at the final table in this high stakes game of poker that is the NHL CBA negotations. And yes, this this is and always has been a heads up game. Neither you, nor I, nor any of the tens of thousands tens of hundreds…

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Morgan Rielly named to Team Canada

Hardly a shocker. Maple Leafs fifth overall select from this past draft Morgan Rielly was one of seven defencemen to make Team Canada for the IIHF U-20 world championship. He didn’t play in either of the scrimmages against Canadian university squads, neither did any of the favourites to make the team. Bob McKenzie suggests he’ll…

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“No progress” in lockout talks, but the end is near all the same

Remember last week, when negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA collapsed? Don Fehr gave a press conference, saying the two sides were close, then came back and said that talks had broken off, and then Gary Bettman gave what was likely the angriest media availability of his NHL tenure, insisting that the owner’s offer of…

Update: Jake Gardiner no longer “not in a concussion state”

Eakins won’t call Gardiner’s injury a concussion but he is feeling symptoms inneck and some headaches. Club will “err on side of caution” — Kyle Cicerella (@KyleTheReporter) December 12, 2012 Eakins also said Gardiner will not play this Saturday, but that was already planned as part of player rotations #Marlies — Kyle Cicerella (@KyleTheReporter) December…

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Depending on way dollars are counted, Leafs could be in trouble

If Brian Burke, a man who has never let himself get away with excessive spending, doesn’t have a team that will be put into an advantageous position when the collective bargaining agreement is all settled, then what the heck is it we’re doing here?  By now I think we know some of the particulars of…

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Leafs Prospects Points Tracking

I thought I’d enhance Justin Fisher’s prospect update from yesterday since I’m doing some tracking at a league-wide level.   With there being no end in the immediate future to rectify the NHL lockout, our thoughts fall into the pipeline. Here’s a detailed look at the Leafs prospects throughout North American Hockey Leagues.

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Maple Leafs prospect may have been kicked off of Harvard’s hockey team

Monday night, Joe Meloni of College Hockey News reported that four players have been removed from the roster of the Harvard Crimson, including Toronto Maple Leafs seventh rounder from 2011 Max Everson. This is likely due to a cheating scandal. There isn’t any official word out of Harvard as to the exact nature of the…

What a 48-game Maple Leafs schedule could look like

Today, the National Hockey League announced cancellations of games through December 30. Rather than re-hash all of that, I think it’s fair to look at where the NHL knows that a real shortened season doesn’t at all benefit the game. Gary Bettman said this last week: Gary Bettman said last week NHL wants a minimum…