Canadian Corner – November 16, 2011.

In today’s roundup of notable Canadian NHL team news: Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo sidelined for tonight’s Canucks-Blackhawks game…Phil Kessel’s value to the Maple Leafs…Should Daniel Alfredsson be a captain at this year’s all-star game?…Flames coach looking for more from Rene Bourque…Oilers and Jets each lose a blueliner to injuries…The Canadiens Swiss pipeline.

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo will miss his team’s matchup tonight against arch-rival Chicago Blackhawks to an upper body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on how serious the injury is or how long Luongo will be sidelined. Cue his haters celebration of Cory Schneider starting tonight against Chicago, whilst drumming up baseless rumors Luongo is faking an injury because he “fears” the Blackhawks.

Kessel invaluable for Leafs.

TORONTO SUN: Rob Longley wonders where the Maple Leafs would be without sniper Phil Kessel?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What is, “up a creek without a paddle”, Alex.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Wayne Scanlan suggests if Daniel Alfredsson plays in this year’s all-star game, he should be nominated for team captain of the Eastern Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, why not? Though such a move wouldn’t please everyone (hello there, Leafs Nation).

CALGARY HERALD: Flames coach Brent Sutter recently defended winger Rene Bourque, suggesting the reason Bourque’s scoring is down this season is due to Sutter’s desire for him to become a more complete player.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Cam Barker is sidelined by an ankle sprain for up to a month.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets blueliner Zach Bogosian suffered an injury during Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, which forced him to miss yesterday’s skills competition, leaving him questionable for Thursday’s game against Washington.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Defenseman Yannick Weber and Raphael Diaz are products of the Canadiens “Swiss pipeline”


  1. I must admit I was way off about Kessel. He’s a hell of a player and much better (and more valuable) than I gave him credit for.

  2. Trade him now well you can get as much in return and start the rebuilding process that should have been done from the start. The Leafs are in desperate need of a Sundin/ Clark/ Gilmore type player and Phil will never compare. Mark my words come playoff time (if ever) the Leafs will crash and burn relying on Kessel to lead the team when the going gets tough. He is to small and to much of a fringe player.

  3. Phil is actually a point per game player in the playoffs (small sample size 14 games) and is a more well rounded player then he was in Boston.

  4. Fire wilson? to much of a fringe player. Have you seen many games this year? Kessel has been more physical, more willing to got into the dirty areas, and more willing to play defense than ever before. He is becoming a much more all round player and as a result is having a damn good start statistically. Hes also a plus nine. If the leafs make the playoffs it will because more players than just Kessel performed during the regular season, he cant carry the team alone. Your right though about needing more character guys who can play. As for Alfredsson being captain, well maybe ten years ago but not now.

  5. How soon we forget when a player gets hot. Phil will be a 40 goal scorer this year but regular season means nothing as we have seen in the past from many players. Even though Dougie was small he would go anywhere and do anything to win including leading by example by standing in front of the net and taking a puck in the face as we once saw. Heart, grit, talent and determination are the main factors and I just don’t see Phil having all of these. He may grow into it one day but the odds say no. Let’s face it he is the Leafs only franchise player so if he is what will drive the team through the playoffs you can kiss a cup goodbye for another 15 years If and when he hits another slump everyone will be yelling trade. I realize trading him will never happen because Burke will never admit his mistake but I’m just trying to get out in front of it while his value is hot.

    As they say in the market “sell on the news”.

  6. @James:

    According to TSN, Kessel has 2 hits thus far this season and is on pace for 9 total all year if he plays 82 games. Kessel has been more physical? Maybe your standard for physicality is much lower than mine.

    Some Leaf fans amuse me, Kessel gets off to a hot offensive start and all of a sudden he’s a physical, two-way forward who is much better at defense. I’ve watched every Leaf game this season based on region (and region only – sucks being a hockey fan in southern Ontario) and can say that while Kessel has been lights out offensively and a force with the puck most games (he still disappears for a few) his defense hasn’t been better, he is not playing slightly physically, he still avoids the corners like the plague and is prone to both turnovers in the neutral zone and being out of position on defense looking for a breakaway pass. Reality is much more useful to discussion than fantasy. I’m sure Leaf fans want Kessel to be a physical, two-way forward…..but he isn’t, he isn’t close and he likely never will be.

    One thing to Kessel’s credit, he’s been labelled in the past as a player who doesn’t make those around him better, but look at Lupul. On the majority of teams in the NHL, Lupul is a 2nd/3rd liner (he was on the 3rd line when Anaheim traded him) and yet he’s playing lights out right now. From watching the games, you really have to give a lot of the credit for Lupul’s start to Kessel, he’s been the driving force behind most of Lupul’s points.

  7. MattyG I agree again whole heartly. Connelly is more of a defensive player and when he is healthy Kessel doesn’t have to worry as much about defense. Now Bozak centering those two is a totally different story. One thing I can say is Kessel has shown Bozak a few things but unfortunately that would be not hitting, not standing in front, not going in the corners, and not playing defense. Kessel’s fun to watch but he’s not a leader and considering he is this teams only franchise player and probably will be the only franchise player for the forseeable future this is not going to end pretty. As far as making Lupul better, yes, that is true but then again Lupul is the only one on that line that will do all the things Kessel and Bozak will not. With out Lupul, Kessel would still be skating around the perimeter looking for his first goal. Those two compliment each other big time and I think if Connelly can stay healthy his defensive side will help this line achieve big numbers for the full year and not just 1 month.

  8. I don’t get it. Why would we trade him to rebuild? Kessel is part of the rebuild. He’s only 24. His best years are still ahead of him. He’s not supposed to be a Clark or Gilmour – he’s just a Kessel and right now at this pace that’s good enough for me. People have to remember – you can’t just go out and get a Gilmour, Clark or Sundin – you have to draft them and for every Sundin there are two Bryan Fogertys or Rico Fatas. For every deal Burke does make (and most of them have panned out well) there are three that he tried to make that fell threw for one reason or another. The fact of the matter is there had probably never been a more difficult time to be an NHL GM what with the salary cap now and I think if you look at the total acquisitions vs. departures Burke is definately doing an excellent job of rebuilding while starting to compete… I don’t think anyone else could have done a better job in a shorter amount of time…

  9. I agree with “FireWilson” i do think Kessel is a good player but with this lineup we rely on him too much and he is not the player for that, even though he is leading the league in scoring im not to convinced he’s a player to build around …….I’d try to use him in a package for Jordan Staal if Pitt would ever consider trading him…..Wilson has to go Brian too……..We need some Ontario guys coaching and managing this team..Brian has done a decent job we are still the 2nd youngest team in the NHL and we may need some more time to devolop but were missing that young center to build around, hate to mention it but Seguin was that player….GO LEAFS !

  10. I was merely stating I thought he was improving in those areas which I believe he is.

  11. As a Broons fan, I am pleased to see Kessel doing so well this year. I’ve always liked his game, and never understood all the hate he gets from some of the media and fans. He and Savard were fabulous together.

    It’s a double standard: you can be a 4th liner and be a checker and fighter, but score no goals and no one complains about you. But score 30+ goals and not be a fighter and everyone complains. The team that scores the most goals wins the game. It’s not as if he’s always been a huge minus player either.

    Time to stop talking about the trade and enjoy the play of both Kessel and Seguin. Looks like a win-win to me.

  12. Win win alright, maybe for Boston. They got a cup, a franchise centerman and another possilbe stud D man in huge Doug Hamilton.
    Oh ya, I almost forgot Boston also got a franchise goalie in Rask. Where did they get Rask from again?

  13. In the words of Fletcher (current Leaf brass) Draft Shmaft…

  14. Hot off the presses. Bozak stays on the top line and Connelly will center the second line in Grabo’s absence.

    Bozak 16 games played, 1 Goal, 8Pts
    Connolly 6 games played, 1 Goal, 4Pts

    I can see how that makes sence. Way to go Wilson another tough decision mastered.