Canadian Corner – December 5, 2011.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ defensive struggles, Bryan Little regaining his form, Andrei Markov’s ongoing struggles to return to action, David Booth and Chris Higgins lead Canucks over the Flames, Jared Cowen gaining more playing time on the Senators blueline, and the Leafs face the red-hot Rangers tonight.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins may be a star offensively, but his defensive play needs improvement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’ll improve over time as he matures and grows more comfortable with the NHL game.

Little going a long way for Jets.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Bryan Little has overcome a slow start to this season, with 7 goals and 13 points in his last 12 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have improved over the same period Little regained his scoring touch.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: A look at the ongoing struggles of Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov to return from off-season knee surgery.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: David Booth and Chris Higgins each had three points as the Canucks downed the Calgary Flames 5-1.

CALGARY HERALD: Henrik Karlsson suffered his fifth losses in as many starts.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators rookie defenseman Jared Cowen has been moving up the depth chart of the Senators blueline. He played 31 shifts and over 28 minutes of ice time in the Senators 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, the most of all Senat0rs in that game.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs hope to get back on track following back-to-back losses to the red hot Boston Bruins, facing the streaking NY Rangers tonight, who are winners of their last five and 12 of their last 14.


  1. A good test for the Leaf’s tonight to see if they can bounce back from the Boston games.
    Cowen looks like a keeper!

  2. Regarding the Leafs Bruins games:

    I take no satisfaction in being right when I said the Leafs would lose both games and the Bruins would make Bozak disappear because he is to soft and not skilled enough to center the Leafs top line. What I also said was that Wilson would realize this and would insert someone else to center the top line by the end of the 2nd game. Where I failed in my prediction was to think Wilson was smart enough to realize this fact after two full games (which he did not) and therefore was out coached once again.

    I think I will keep my name FireWilson because once again it has become relevant after only two games. Two games in which it has been proven Wilson’s run and gun, defence last coaching approach will lead the Leafs to a SanJose type top place finish during the regular season but a first round knock out in the playoffs year after year. With Bozak slotted in night after night as the top line center and power play mimute muncher I can only assume he is now be considered the top line center the Leafs have conveted since Sundin’s departure. Maybe Wilson can send Grabo and Connelly to the Marlies and he can bring up two new guys since he considers them 2nd or 3rd liners at best.

  3. @fFireWilson.. I’ve been saying for sometime now that the Leafs inability to beat the better teams such as Boston, Buffalo and Philadelphia will likely cause them to miss the playoffs again. In regards to those 3 teams last year, they lost 4 of 6 to two of them and 3 of 4 to the Flyers.

    In both the Boston games, it appears to me that Wilson was outcoached as he appeared to have no answer to Julien’s neutral zone clog. Wilson was also outcoached most of last year by Lindy Ruff and then there’s Ryan Miller who seems to have them spooked as well.

    I don’t think Bozak is a top line center either. Connolly is a far better playmaker but he’s made of glass. The team is also plagued with injuries but has somehow managed to hang around and give themselves some kind of hope. Speaks well of depth anyways.

    I”m not a Wilson fan either. I truly believe there are other choices but as long as Burke believes in both the team and Wilson, Wilson is likely not going anywhere; unless of course ,they don’t make the playoffs again and then maybe a coaching change will occur.

  4. FireWilson,

    Let me get this straight. The Leafs haven’t made the playoffs in years, now they’re doing well and you’ve already condemned them to several first round knockouts? Wow, I thought the fans in Montreal were crazy.

    Ok, the fans in Montreal are crazy, but you should relax and enjoy the ride. Especially because there’s no way in hell Burke will fire Wilson any time soon.

  5. FireWilson makes crazy look pretty moderate. If a guy named Lupul torches the scoring charts, I’m actually gonna give some credit to his center – who is fast and hardworking.
    Yeah you got it kid, they should drop Bozak down and slot in that big, physical Thornton-type center THAT THEY DON’T HAVE!
    Bozak is basically the reason they lost to Boston, cause he’s the ONLY guy getting pushed around.
    Man, if only they knew that you should be the coach. I’d like to see the best team in the league figure out the godly Leafs then.’
    The only reason you are high on Connelly (as well as glue) is that he has only played a handful of games – so you’re still in phase 1 of Leaf fan-dom: the honeymoon. Phase 2: Completely throwing your guy under the bus when he doesn’t single-handedly make your crap team good (see Versteeg). Don’t worry, Band-Aid Connelly will make it into your bad books soon enough.

  6. chill out people there is no shame in getting beat by the champs boston will be the team in there again,as for the leafs wilson has his death grip on this team he has proven time after time he can not keep up with the big boys,the game in toronto the leafs were the faster team but there pk let them down again the buds out played them for 40mins and the game in boston was a joke how many times have you seen teams kick the crap out of weaker teams but come play-off time choke playing the same team,so anyhow my fellow leaf fans don;t worry be happy…

  7. Karlsson was injured in last night’s game. And Kiprusoff was run by Booth, altho I will say that it looks as tho Booth did try to slow up to avoid plowing thru him.

  8. Karlsson was smoked by Kostopoulous. It seems teams have as little awareness of their own tender as they do of the opponent’s these days.

  9. As usual Tux you are proving to be a useless post.

    As I said a week ago
    1. the Leafs will lose both games to Boston.. Correct.
    2. Bozak will be a nonfactor … Correct
    3. Wilson is a crap coach as shown by one of the worst goals against and one of the worst pk’s… correct

    You go ahead believing Bozak and Wilson are the second coming of christ because you just twist everything around I post to make your latest point seem valid anyways. You always jump on the latest bandwagon since your brain doesn’t function beyond the last five games at any point. I guess if the Leafs lose the next 3 games you will be calling for Wilsons head but then again if Bozak scores tonight you will have him slotted in for the top line center position for the next Canadian Olympic team.

  10. If the Leafs start to tank badly in the next 2 months putting them out of a playoff spot, will there be a coaching change in an attempt to make the playoffs? or will Burke wait? How long does Burke stand by his man when it starts looking bad on him? Especially now that Carlyle(sp?) is available.

  11. Well I’m not gonna deny that I am twisting your words a little.
    But the fact remains… really want him off the top line, and you want him replaced by a physical player that you don’t have. I think he is a factor in the line’s success, you seem to think they are succeeding in spite of him. He’s your whipping boy, but you should be so lucky as to have a marginal player contribute at that level.
    I’m really not a fan of Wilson, but at 600 wins I’ll take his word over yours.

  12. @FireWilson

    1. Leafs will lose both games to boston – ahhh ya.. so is every other team in the NHL
    2. Bozak will be a non factor – the guy is finally producing for you and you have no one else to fill his shoes
    3. as far as Wilson being a bad coach your judgement is clouded by your hatred for the guy. He has coached your overachieving leafs to be a legit playoff contender this year. And as far as his NHL worst PK goes, he had one of the best when he was with San Jose. Just goes to show you can only do so much with what you are given.