NHL Canadian Corner – April 9, 2014

The Maple Leafs and Senators are eliminated from playoff contention, the Oilers fall to the Avalanche, speculation over who will replace Mike Gillis as Canucks GM, plus the latest on the Canadiens, Flames and Jets.

The look on James Reimer's face says it all.

The look on James Reimer’s face says it all.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs were eliminated from playoff contention with a listless 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was a costly win for the Lightning, as starting goalie Ben Bishop left the game with an upper-body injury.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Senators defeated the NY Islanders 4-1, but were eliminated from playoff contention as the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings also garnered victories last night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be offering my take in an upcoming Soapbox on what the Leafs and Senators must do to return to playoff contention next season. Feel free to leave your comments here, Leafs and Sens fans. Do these teams need a significant shakeup or just roster tweaks? Should there be coaching and management changes? 

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers fell 4-1 to the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An Oilers fan recently asked me why I don’t do more of a write-up on the Oilers losses. Honestly, how many more ways can one describe the mounting defeats of a team mired in an eight-year culture of losing? At this point, best to keep it short and sweet.

VANCOUVER SUN: Speculation is rampant over who could replace recently-fired Canucks GM and president Mike Gillis. Canucks legends Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund have been rumored as possible candidates for president, but both denied being in communication with the Canucks. Former Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson was also mentioned. Jay Feaster is rumored among the GM candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I spoke my piece yesterday about the Canucks firing Gillis. Hopefully we’ll find out soon, perhaps as early as today, who will become their new president and GM.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens will be without Carey Price, Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin when they face off tonight against the Blackhawks in Chicago. The move was made to give the three a rest before the upcoming playoffs.

CALGARY HERALD: The Flames players have no intention of tanking the season to get a better draft position.

WINNIPEG SUN: Long-time Jets players are getting tired of missing the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s up to them, as well as their teammates, coaches and management, to address that problem for next season.


  1. Fire Carlyle poach a coach from a system that resembles how the Leafs are built. Fire Nonis if he keeps up the ridiculious identity and character talk and play the younger guys with some skill that you have developed with the past 7 years of futility. What breeds character is determination and persistence, Ashton Gardiner Kadri Bernier Rielly Bodie Kessel JVR and lot of these other guys have character give them some tools to work with, not overpriced lunch bucket types (Clarkson Bolland Lupul Gleason Ranger).

  2. Fire carlye. Bring in a young coach with a defensive mind that will mentor a young team.if nonis isnt on same page bring in someone that is. Trade lupul for a solid dman. Strip dion of C if we are gonna keep him. Give it to a guy that has a resume of wining. Bolland. And if you dont like it shticky who else you got? And be an under the cap team. Replace guys like kuli and lupul franson gleason orr with low budget players from marlies. Ashton levio. Grandberg mcwilliam.

    • What has Bolland done exactly? The history of winning comes from being a secondary piece on some very good teams, be it jr or with the Hawks, if he is so important why did they deal him? Krueger or Bickell have even bigger hearts and more identity? He has been in the league 8 years and has only played just over 350 games and is a .5 gpg player. Say he played 7 years full time he should be in the neighborhood of 574 games so he has nearly missed 225 games due to injury or almost injured for 3 years in an 82 game schedule….how do you ever replace a guy like that?? Easy you use the guy you are going to have use for the half season he is hurt anyway. Bolland is not a captain, or anywhere near a 5 million dollar player. He is an injury riddled thirdline player, back problems concussion now bad ankle for a player who wasnt overly fast to begin with. Third line center Holland McClemment Smith hell resign Kuli for 3 mill. Bolland is not a 2 c Id take Kadri or Bozak over Bolland .

      • A captain doesnt command the team it should be a guy who is on the ice quite a bit to speak to the refs it can be a teams best player or a guy that you want to model your team after but it should be a guy who plays lots, there is more to being a captain of a hockey team than the title.
        How bout we replace Franson with a guy who can actually play top 4 minutes in the NHL instead of cheap Marlies. That may help, The Leafs have roughly 22 mill in space with 9 players or so to fill out a roster if they can some how manage to get rid of Lupul and say Gleason and not be stupid by signing more 3 rd liners (Bolland) for near 5 mill they will be better.

  3. Bring back komorav too. But yes dont trade any young players like reilly gardiner bernier kadri kessel jvr levio bozak. Unless you get tavare for kessel and gardiner type deal. Not gonna happen what ia saying is if a franchise player comes along at age 24 to 27 like a tavares take it. And the if eric stall is available i would consider kadri and gardiner in a package. Also draft william nylander hayden fleury or nick richtie.

    • It’ll take a hell of a lot more than Kadri and Gardiner for Stall.

  4. Another player i am looking at is josh ho sang. Similar to kadri. Very gd hands but very small. Would consider him if the 3 mentioned get drafted first. And if we win draft by some miracle. Sam benett. Is my guy

  5. First and foremost for the Leafs is the Carlyle has to go.
    Think about it, this is a defensive-minded coach whose team played zero defense. Ergo, they are not listening to him. Reminds me of his last year in Anaheim. Talented team that tuned him out.
    Bring in Laviolette.
    I would love to see Phaneuf get dealt but it’ll never happen…. so I’ll shelf that pipe-dream.
    The next pieces that have to go are Gardiner and Bolland.
    Gardiner is good, but Rielly is better, and Gardiner still has value due to his age and offensive spark.
    I’m sure Burke in Calgary would be interested!
    Bolland is good, I like him a lot, but he’s too expensive, and with Clarkson eating up a bunch of $ we can’t have 2 guys taking up $10 Million on the 3rd line. Either re-sign him at half his current salary (if he’ll take it) or let him walk.
    I would consider listening to offers for Lupul as well, he’s a good player but I have a feeling he’s going downhill from now on.
    Guys to hold on to:
    Entire first line. Yes, even Bozak since he has made improvements.
    Kadri… once he settles down (matures) his mistakes will become fewer
    Mason Raymond needs to be re-signed. The guy plays fast and hard.
    Here’s where I’m going to get flamed…
    Keep Franson, Kulemin and Gleason.
    I still believe in a couple of years Franson will become an elite D-man.
    Kulemin is the only really responsible forward who skates back and plays good D
    Gleason is a solid shut-down D-man Toronto is desperate for, he blocks shots like nobody’s business too.
    Leafs can bring back Komarov (he’s already stated he has interest in returning) to make up for Bolland’s departure, and maybe test the waters with Orpik if he’s still available in the off-season.
    Now as for Reimer? Well, if you get a good offer take it, if not, rs-sign him for 1 year since he’s only an RFA anyhow.
    Sorry for the text wall, just my 2 cents.

    • Kuli will be expensive but a very useful guy Id see if you can resign him Lupul is toast, Franson and Gleason should go.

      • I can understand why you would say that for Franson, but Gleason? You don’t see the advantage of hanging on to the most defensive minded D-man on the team? Without him Gunnarson is the next most defensive minded guy… *Shudder*

      • Gleason good but the team could easily replace him cheaper. Hockey is a business and Gleason is too much for what he now brings to a team so he had to go. Same with Franson as a top 4 he is not. He’s best a bottom pairing with pp time…he can go too. Gleason is unmovable and Franson is an RFA with rights so we won’t get much for him.

        Upfront, boland, lupul, bozak, raymond, and everyone on the forth line can go. I don’t think they can do anything about clarkson other than hope he doesn’t become another Komisarek. I doubt they will move a lot of players as the obvious first and most important move would be to fire the coach and his staff.
        This team is better than it’s finish but I feel the problem was the coach forcing players to play in miscast roles and adopting a system not compatible with the line up. His non use of the forth line as well as his selection of that line was unacceptable. I find it hilarious that the coach and some media types are dumbfounded at the colapse of this team when all year round the coach over played and leaned too much on its star players and basically gave up on the notion of rolling four hockey lines…without mentioning his poor system.

  6. @shticky you still have not answered my question. Who you got? You said a captain is someone you should model your team after. Dion is a joke of a captain and that is as big as a problem as carlye in my opinion. Kessel wouldnt do gd as captain in a big market. So who you got? Jvr just answer the question please. Do you still believe phaneuf should be captain. The most overrated player (voted by players) and laughing stock of the nhl. I really think that is one of the changes that will occur. Dion gets stripped of the C. Bolland has 2 cups stanley cup wining goal and a memorial cup. Just answer this. Who else you got.On the current roster who else would u name captain? If phaneuf banished through trade or got stripped of the C. Im gonna ask one more time because you never answer my question. Who else you got? And i said 6 year 25.5 million not a cent more. Wouldnt surprise me is he signed for 7 years just under 4 million per.Just answer the question who else you got for captain minus pylon

    • Ask him one more time man, go on…

      • Lmao I cant see them stripping Phaneuf as captain as he plays the most minutes but if they did I wouldnt have any problems giving it Kessel or JVR… Im not sure why you think market size has anything to do with who the captsin should be. The captain should be a guy in the room the rest of the players like respect, should have lots of ice time, so they can discuss calls etc. Its not naming him mayor of the city. He dosent run drills or make sure players are behaving on curfew ect.

        Gleason is ok as a d man on the bottom pairing Im just not sure its a great idea to have a 4.5 mill guy plaing there Id try and hold some salary move him and pick up a top 4 with the money saved from letting Franson and moving Gleason, which is around 5 MILL if it could be pulled off.

    • What do you think a captain is supposed to do? I don’t know if they should try or make sense to trade doing because if they do, they’ll need to replace him with someone as good as he is.

      That overrated poll is dumb. Anything anyone quotes out of SI doesn’t know squat about hockey. To me other than being a useless poll, that poll tells me only one thing with regards to Dion and that is he is very disliked in the league by his peers and that’s not a bad thing.

      • Honestly why give someone the captain just cuz?? Isn’t that how we got in this phaneuf problem? If you don’t have anyone who deserves it or earned it don’t give it to anyone… Maybe if phaneuf did to have the c he wouldn’t have been such a tough choice into just lettin him walk this year instead of resigning him..

  7. im sorry to say but jvr is not a character guy why do u think philly got rid of him for a plug of defenseman? I would move jvr in heartbeat if I was the gm only problem is that other teams know what he is like

    • Are you kidding me? Philly would take back that trade any day of the week if they could.
      They traded him back then because they were worried about his health, and at the time, Schenn was supposed to be turning into a great D-man.
      JVR had 30+ goals this year, trading someone like that “in a heartbeat” is GM suicide.

      • This is one of the most …nvm not even worth it. Think you have showed your hockey knowledge nothing further needed here.

      • lolololol a lot of good those 30 did when it mattered!!!

      • holmgrem must be in suicide mode playing in the playoffs!! lol u leaf fans are all the same just like the team no knowledge at all

  8. So you would have no problem naming a streaky player like kessel who has his head down on the bench after each shift and looks like a dear in headlights infront of the cameras. The pressure is already way to high for him because he is our biggest offensive threat. Your best player doesnt have to be captain. Whoever is respected and liked the most in locker room. Not saying Orr as captain im saying bolland. I guy who is a winner. Kessel as captain lmao. And phaneuf shouldnt be the captain but it is because he is all we have in the leadership category and that is the problem. Leadership amongst players is the teams biggest problem. Cant have a guy like dion who makes the most mistakes on team maybe franson wearing the C. Then when a young guy kadri gardiner makes a mistake in the doghouse. Not gd. You want a captain that will motivate other players and wear his heart on sleeve. Stick up for teammates. Not just talk play the most minutes. Thus isnt pewee hockey where you give in to best player. Usually the best player has all these leadership tools. Kessel or dion doesnt have what giroux crosby tavares getzlaf weber chara brown toews backes benn stamkos have. That is why kessel isnt a franchise player. He is robin and we are missing batman.

    • Streaky? He has nearly 40 goals is he supposed to score every game 2 nd leading point getter over the past 3 years who is more consistant? 1 guy? Seriously wasnt guys like Bolland Clarkson Gleason getting rid of Grabo and McArthur supposed to address the “leadership” issues? How that work out? Didnt the Oilers bring in Smyth to be a leader for their youngsters how that work? Ott really turned around the Sabres didnt he? Think the Coyotes win the cup this year Captain Doan should get them there right? Whole lot of heart and leadership there… Leadership qualities and heart are how agents peddle their older players to GMs, Talent wins hockey games not the teams with the best or most gritty leaders (older hurt alot 3rd liners)

  9. If you wanna shake things up hope Sj Gets eliminated early again and target couture. I would use jvr in a package in a heartbeat. Then you have depth at center and move kadri to the wing. And draft nick richtie in first round. And you have levio that can fill void and clarkson will have a bounce back year.

  10. Also leafs look to be pickng between 8-10 th of course depending on lottery but I’d be looking at forwards for sure and big guys as well. Lot of their top prospects are d and any forwards they have are on the smaller side. Guys available around this spot would be McCann, Tuch, or probably top choice Ritchie. Of course this is unless one of the top guys fall down further…… On another note I hate that this is what I’m talking about right now rather then the leafs taking on Montreal in the first round….. Ah the life of a leaf fan

    • Ya me too especially with this years draft, I generally see alot of jr hockey and nobody really blows my mind that is eligable this year, and I am really confused how Sam Bennet is 1 again after seeing my Fronts blow a 3 game lead in the first round of the playoffs (you would think being a Leaf fan was punishment enough but I have seasons tickets here in Kingston) McCaan seems like he could work out good coaching in the soo.

  11. shticky how can you talk about hockey knowledge ?? how many game on that 8 game losing streak did kessel and jvr step up?? a big zero!! max pacioretty has more goals than kessel and he makes 4.5million compared to phils 8!! there is a reason why boston and philly traded those 2 guys ! seguin is such a more complete player kessel just floats around never plays d ever! his contract is almost as bad as phaneufs they don’t have any character or fight at all if not for bernier they would be bottom 5 no doubt at all

    • Pacioretti is a great contract but has what msybe 100-105 goals maybe 200 points in his career? Pretty much the same age right? Kessel has twice has played 200 more games has 120 more goals and another 100 pointson top of that fool thats why he gets paid more
      KESSEL(26) 584 GAMES 220 goals 237 assists .785 ppg 2nd in points past 3 seasons
      PATCHES (25) 316 games 107 goals 106 assists .67ppg

      pacioretty signed his deal as an RFA for 1 (had no option to just walk awayas a ufa) and Kessel has twice as many points over his career. Like I said Pacioretty is a good player but they are not 2 contracts you can really compare. How many years Pacioretti had more points than kessel? None including this year.

      • what are we living in the past now? and yes you can compare contracts kessel is a defensive liability you have to look all around when your throwing out 8 million a yr! so your telling me you would rather have kessel over say toews,getzlaf,perry,crosby,kopitar………. its a terrible contract is all you can say pretty sure he is a minus player and during that 8 game losing streak he was invisible!

    • I have to agree with you jello as a leafs fan. We have no heart and soul leadership type players in the top 6. I would take giroux and simmonds over jvr and kessel in a heart beat. Our top players arent franchice players. Kessel is one dimensional. We need a major shakeup. There is no way you will win the cup with kessel and dion as your top two players. And the ultimate goal is to win the cup

      • Yep great minds think alike. lol

        • They sure do. You and Ron want to keep the team intact and blame this entire season on the coach and a bunch of us would like to look a little deeper at each player. You need to look no further then the semi final and final game for the US to know whether or not Kessel will step up at the right time. He’s a very good player but not the type to lead a team when the going gets tough. He is a carbon copy of a Marian Hossa type guy when he was with Ottawa and counted on to be the guy. Tons of points in the regular season but just average when it counts most. I have no issues with Phil’s salary if we weren’t in a cap world but since we are I think there are better guys for $8M per.

          • He is a ppg in the playoffs too….but please go on with the when it counts most thing. Hossa eh? Looks pretty good on a good team like the Hawks dosent he? Maybe thats why they circumvented the old cap rules to keep him?

  12. You are a joke yes players get paid according to what they have done not what they may do or guys like Hall Stamkos, Taveres Towes and Mckinnon and Yaks would be the highest payed guys in the league soon as they were drafted fool…living in the past, you are a bright one its called living in reality. I guarantee you when Towes or any of those guy I just mentioned sign their first contract that would be their first contract as s UFA not an RFA deal where the club controls the cost to some extent they will make more than Kessel. Im notsaying he is the best player in the league Im saying he is worth his contract simple.

    • you are so clueless!! there is a salary cap and your throwing 8million around for a guy that doesn’t even know what his own end looks like and is a minus player let alone not even scoring 40 and doesn’t show up when it counts! maybe read a bit more into the current cap and the new nhl than start writing on here!CLUELESS!!

      • Like Oveckin….yep. arguing with someone who is using +/- as the major factor in deciding contract…lol that couldnt have anything to due with the brutal defense the Leafs have could it? Do you think his plus minus is better if he is on a team like the Bruins with Chara behind him instead of Franson or on the Blues where they have 6 first round picks playing on the blue line? Clueless??? and you use plus minus…funny!

        • Btw he is a -1 on the worst defensive team in the league and was plus 23 on the Bruins Lets see if you get the connection, and the reason you arguement of his plus minus is “clueless”. Now I think Im done arguing with the angry teenager who lives in their parents basement.

          • Darn, I’m a day late to this argument…

            I’m in the middle…

          • Stamkos was a -4 last year and is a -2 over his career funny how good hockey players on bad teams have crappy Plus/minus…or is he a terrible bum who doesnt know what his own end of the rink looks like too? THAT Duchene must be really terrible he is a minus -17 over his career.

  13. Last thing… Phil kessel over the past 3 years
    210 games played (hasnt missed a game) 94 goals 120 assists 214 points (more points than Pacioretti has in his career) more than a point per game how is he the problem? Is he supposed to get 2 or 3 points per game? Would that make him less “streaky”?
    Maybe the issue is the guys around him?

    • clueless you’ve been following a bad streak of gms to closely

  14. Says the guy who doesnt understand the difference between RFA and UFA, thinks +/- should be a big factor in negotiating contracts based on a players future performance and gazing in to a crystal ball…