NHL Canadian Corner – December 12, 2013.

Maple Leafs fall to the Kings, the latest on Evander Kane, Daniel Briere, Jared Cowen, Andrew Ference and Zack Kassian, while the rebuilding Flames must work on finishing strong.

Leafs James van Riemsdyk  hits Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin.

Leafs James van Riemsdyk hits Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin.

TORONTO STAR: Though the Maple Leafs fell 3-1 to the LA Kings, they’re trying to find the positives in their improved performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings are among this season’s Cup contenders so the Leafs shouldn’t feel too badly about this loss.  While they don’t measure up well against the league’s top teams, they could beat the rest of the league by playing as well as they did against the Kings.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Evander Kane will miss the remainder of the club’s homestand (Thursday and Saturday) with a lower-body injury. He’s been sidelined for the past four games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Kane re-aggravated a lower-body injury which has hampered him since early in the season.  He’s struggled for most of this season and I think due to injury than attitude.

LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien expects more from Daniel Briere.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Briere hasn’t delivered as expected in his first season with the Canadiens. Part of the reason is injury-related, but I also think age could be catching up with the 36-year-old. He’s certainly not playing like a $4 million per season player.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Senators defenseman Jared Cowen received a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons.

EDMONTON SUN: Oilers captain Andrew Ference sees similarities between his club and his early seasons with a rebuilding Boston Bruins team several years ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Difference is, those Bruins weren’t as bad for as long as the Oilers have been since 2006-07.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Canucks forward Zack Kassian is trying to shed the label of “project”.

CALGARY HERALD: Having overcome slow starts, the rebuilding Flames must now work on finishing strong.


  1. Kassian might be trying to shed the label of AHLer if his game doesn’t get any better.

  2. Well a lot of good things came out of last nights Leafs game such as they actually played reasonably well and got shots to the net, skated with the Kings and out played them for parts of the game. I don’t thing the team missed Phaneuf to the point I would pay him $8M although it’s only one game so far so lets see how they fair against the Blues. As suspected Franson and Gardiner logged the extra minutes in Phaneufs absence.
    What was clear is the lack of secondary scoring. I’m still shaking my head at Randy’s selection of a winger to play with Lupul. Cold hands Kulemin could not get the job done (go figure) despite some great set ups, his hands are officially made of stone. Mean while I am loving watching Raymond more and more. His spin o rama’s in the offensive zone are a refreshing change on a some what boring chip and chase game put on by most of the secondary scoring lines. Why he wasn’t paired with Lupul last night only Randy knows. Nothing like watching two skilled guys (Lupul and Raymond) get stuck with stone hand wing mates (Kulemin and Clarkson). I guess Randy some how thinks he’s creating two secondary scoring lines instead of one. Sorry Randy it didn’t work you got ziltch for goals and some real good wasted efforts from Lupul and Raymond seperately.

    • Interesting to see how they respond tonight…Love how the panel pointed out that when the team plays more of an off the rush, speed type game as opposed to the way Randy tries to get them to play most nights they look pretty good. Talented team looked pretty good last night. I must say that Bernier has me worried by the amount of 5 hole goals that seem to be getting thru.

      • Oh ya and Ranger is still Terrible…hope they switch him out for Liles.

      • @ Shticky

        The OFF RUSH game was the Ron Wilson type game i mentioned to you last week that Carlyle was gravitating too …he has no choice as he has no power forwards for a dump and chase game and no power forwards for a cycle game …they are a one trick pony…hope for a deflection on the rush …still need guys infront looking for rebounds as well …they teach this stuff in PEE WEE… grrrrrrrrr

        • JVR, Lupul, Clarkson, Ashton, Brodie are all considered powerforwards while Kadri, Bolland, Holland, and Kulemin have certainly shown at times they can play like one. Size is not a problem for the Leafs poor mismatched lines is what is.

          JVR – Kadri – Kessel
          Lupul – Holland – Raymond
          Clarkson – Smith – Kulemin
          Levio – McClement – Brodie

          IMO should be the line up for the Leafs right now. There isn’t much I’d change about it when Bozak/Bolland came back either other then getting Bolland in on either the 2nd or 3rd line. Bozak is a waste of space.

          • I like your post. Not sure most will agree on Bozak so pensil him in on the second line or third line checker (if Bolland is your second line center) if you don’t want people jumping all over you. lol

          • @ JJB

            …sorry JJB but none of those guys play any style like a power forward and I never said size was an issue , style of play per player is the issue !
            Fighting for loose pucks …rebounds and corner fights are the most played parts of the game that Leafs loose in battles 90% of the time …HENCE less zone preasure and less puck posession !

        • Being a team that uses speed and scores off transition and the rush is not exclusive to Wilson…look at Chicago, San Jose Detroit. None of these teams lay a whole bunch of hits down trying to retrieve pucks Laviolette coaches a similar style. Im not saying dont cycle the puck at all. Im saying be more aggressive in your own end cause turn overs and transition up the ice with shorter passing more speed. There is no sense continually dumping or chipping the puck in if you cant go get it. Randy complains about possession? An idea might be to stop chipping and chasing pucks all over the place and carry the puck more and use their skill and speed.

      • Agreed especially on the Bernier comment. A little worrisome.

        • No need to worry about Berniers 5 Hole ….teams are going to find ways …hes as solid as they come and every goalie has some chink in the armour …his positives GREATLY outweigh any of his minimal negatives !!!

    • @ LEAFS 24/ 7


      play best defensive game of the year without Phanuef …….LOL ….wow …they just need to keep Reilly in the games …what the heck are they even thinking sitting him …dumb!

      Amazing what happens when a team skates all night keeps sticks on the Ice and cycles the puck in the corners …Leafs desperate for a game changer type player who can take the team on its back more often than not …they just don’t have that guy …Kessel is way to streaky and can go 10 games without goals ….still need that type of player on D and up front …until then ….we will be writing the same stuff all the time every day !!

      The Kings are VERY deep Nolan and Toffoli are GOD sent 3rd and 4th liners….. WOW are they good ….I wish we had those guys ….along with a Justin Williams and Muzzin on back end …I am going to ask Santa this year for a multi player trade from Nonis ……and do it right !!

      • I think the team as a whole played a better D game then usual. Forwards were back checking (even Kadri) so no knock against Dion. Let’s see if they can do it two nights in a row when they are tired.

        That soft penalty call leading to the first goal killed all the Leafs momentum. Up to that point they were skating hard and out playing the Kings for the most part. Leave it to the refs to disrupt the game on a soft holding call when both players were laying on the ice. Not blaming the penalty call for the Leafs loss but more blaming it for screwing up a fantastic high speed end to end rushing game up until that point. The wind left the Leafs sails after that pp goal.

        • Here is the problem with the trade scenario thing !!

          If the Leafs don’t make a move before the Christmas break there will be no moves until after Socchi ….thats a long time away and may be too late by that point ….if anything major is brewing it has to be done in the next few days or week ahead !


          • Doubt anything happens. Nonis wants to see how the team performs with Bolland and Bozak back first. He may also want to see how the playoffs go too. Don’t forget he has no cap room either which makes trading for anything worth while that much more difficult. Nonis is a stay the course GM so can’t see much happening this year since he made his moves and blew the wad last summer.

  3. Watching this leaf game it’s now 4-1. Leafs really haven’t play well at all but it was expected on back to backs vs St. Louis and down 3 of your top players it wouldn’t be good. Now in saying all that ranger and Fraser need to go!!! Just awful plays night after night.. The experiment is over

    • Yep but Randy loves these “role model” types…they are a great example. Who needs Skill? lol seriously if Burkie can fire someone 2 weeks before Christmas so can Nonis. Get rid of Carlyle already.

  4. And oh ya we should trade Dion, obviously we dont need him.