Canadian Corner – Wednesday, September 7, 2011.

Leafs GM Brian Burke optimistic over his team heading into this season…Injured Canucks Kesler and Raymond are ahead of schedule in their respective recoveries…Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson ready to roll this season…Predicting Ryan Smyth’s point production this season…A look at the Flames prospects…Jets jerseys unveiled.


NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos reports Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is “brimming with optimism” as his team prepares for the upcoming season. He’s also left a roster spot open for one of his prospects, and is waiting to see if Matthew Lombardi, who missed all but two games last season to concussion, is healthy enough to return

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On paper, the Leafs appear good enough to perhaps sneak into this season’s playoffs, but it’ll be the play on the ice – especially that of young goalie James Riemer, winger Phil Kessel, blueliners Dion Phaneuf and Mike Komisarek, and new additions Lombardi, Cody Franson, Tim Connolly and John-Michael Liles – that’ll determine where they’ll finish.


VANCOUVER PROVINCE: reports Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman claims injured forwards Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond are ahead of schedule with their respective recoveries. Center Manny Malhotra meanwhile appears to have fully recovered from the eye injury he suffered last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s good news for the Canucks, though Raymond probably won’t be back until late-November/early-December. Kesler is aiming to be ready for training camp.


OTTAWA CITIZEN: Allen Panzeri reports Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson feels good and ready to play again, though he did acknowledge the thought this season could be his last has crossed his mind, though he added it’s done that over the past five years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Alfredsson has a good, healthy performance, this one won’t be his last.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples looks at predictions over how many points recently returned Oilers forward Ryan Smyth might get, noting some are predicting a 50-point performance. Staples would be satisfied with a 30-40 point season “so long as he’s holding his own on defence and playing tough hockey”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think that’s a reasonable expectation.


CALGARY HERALD: reports the Flames will get a good look at their young prospects when they arrive on Friday for fitness testing before departing Saturday for the Young Stars rookie tournament in Penticton, BC.


WINNIPEG SUN: reported on yesterday’s grand unveiling of the Jets home and away jerseys for this season:



  1. With a healthy Hemsky, and Whitney on the pp, hall setting up shop ala Stamkos on the opposite boards, smitty, should have not many problems reaching atleast 40pts standing infront of the net doing what he does best. I really hope this season horcoff is left off the pp and left to concentrate on the pk. His one timers are brutal!! Watching early camp footage these guys look ready to go, Magnus looks much bigger, and more comfortable then last year, adapting to the western world took a bit for him.

  2. I like the new jerseys. :). The leafs have some HUGE “ifs” in their lineup. If Reimer Papua lights out, if Phanuef can finally bounce back for a entire season, if Connolly can stay healthy, if Lombardi is fully recovered from his serious concussion. The only players I think will be pulling their weight the entire year is Kessel, Liles, Franson, and Armstrong (IF he can stay healthy). That’s just too much finger crossing and hope to make them a playoff team. I think Carolina has a better team than them and I don’t think Carolina will sneak into the playoffs again. Plus the division the Leafs are in is looking pretty tough this year. Three teams have all star/Olympian/Vezina/Stanley cup goaltenders and better coaching. That said, if all those ifs come together and the leafs have a all star in Reimer, no injuries, and Connolly and Lombardi get 60+ points each, phanuef gets 50+ points with a positive +-, and grabo scores 30 then yes there’s definitely a opportunity for playoffs. But when I lay it out like that it appears very unlikely that will all happen.