NHL Canadian Corner – December 8, 2013.

Game recaps plus the latest on the Canucks.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Goals by Tomas Plekanec and Alexander Galchenyuk lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. It was the Habs fifth straight win, giving them a 9-0-1 record in their last ten.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The win also lifted Montreal into a tie with Pittsburgh for first overall in the Eastern Conference.

Mason Raymond celebrates his shootout winner over the Senators.

Mason Raymond celebrates his shootout winner over the Senators.

TORONTO SUN/OTTAWA CITIZEN: James Reimer made 47 saves carrying the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-3 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators, who had overcome a 3-1 deficit to send the game into overtime.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At this point it’s safe to say goaltending is the only thing saving the Leafs right now. Without Reimer and Jonathan Bernier, they would be out of playoff contention.  If those two start wearing down from their heavy workloads, the Leafs will be in big trouble.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mark Scheifele’s overtime goal gave the Jets a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets ended their six-game road trip earning eight out of a possible twelve points. Perhaps this is an indication of a more consistent effort for this usually inconsistent club.

CALGARY SUN/EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jiri Hudler scored in overtime as the Flames won the latest round of the “Battle of Alberta”, downing the Oilers 2-1.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Canucks coach John Tortorella is trying to teach his club to remain aggressive and shed their old habits of playing it safe.


  1. Another lead blown another 50 shots…whos the next call up because its certainly not due to the system?

    • anybody who can win faceoffs and kill penalties, since that’s where the shots and blown leads are coming from.

      • Sure yep 1 guy should be able to cut the shots against almost in half. The beginning of the year the PK was pretty good and they were still getting out shot badly and winning games with goaltending. Pk was great as was their faceoffs last year still had a bad April and blew a big lead in game 7 (which they would not have even got to if it wasn’t for goaltending). Nothing is changing with the exception They have a team that is a little more talented and faster, but hey lets keep playing the defensive shell game its worked out great.

        • Maybe we could recall Smithson, great faceoff guy who kills penalties.

          • don’t know what Smithson did to get sent down. scratchin my head over that one. d’Amigo played well in limited minutes, but better than Smithson?
            Mcclement is playing too many minutes and taking stupid fatigue penalties. Without him, bozak, bolland on the pk, it’s a battle, and one they’re not even coming close to winning.
            …and you asking a ridiculous question and mocking the answer, keep up the good work.

          • Sorry man didnt mean it to sound like that just growing tired with the wash lather rinse repeat routine. As Ive said before I think its a pretty decent team and even if Randy tried being a little more aggressive in their own end. It would be a little more bareable but how many more goals does he need to see like Ottawas first which get scored continuously? Its brutal.. just a shooting gallery. 1 or 2 guys dont fix the problem they may mask it a little but when a team is getting outshot like this there is more of a problem than missing a piece or 2. Thats not going to make a 20-25 shot difference.

          • i really don’t think the long dzone sieges have anything to do with system. dmen are shaky, and hold the puck too long waiting for outlets. they didn’t do that in October.

            changes in pairings, different goalie tendencies, injuries. there’s no consistency beyond gunnar and dion. i’ll stick with my belief that rielly shouldn’t be in this mess. let him play for Canada, then send him back down. let liles play as long as their ltir $$ will allow. put fraser and franzen back together and let them figure it out. if d-pairings and interim centres can’t get it together by Christmas, then panic. til then, hang in and hold it together til bolland and bozak return.

        • I am starting to think along the same lines with Rielly but only the world juniors and carry him till he can go to the Marlies in March meaningful big minutes with bigger players would do better than back in jr hockey. Let him play more sheltered minutes, or carry him as an extra d till then and let him practice with the big team. If they do pick up a decent stay at home defensive type guy, replace Fraser and let Rielly and or Liles with the pick up, until Rielly can go to the Marlies in March. Liles actually looked good last night. Like one of the better players on either team good.

    • Leafs have lost all physicality to every aspect of there game ..that # 1 they are not making it hard or punishing players and wear them down for the length of the game and teams are still fresh in the third where as the Leafs go with 3 D men for the last 20 minutes and are getting burned out !! HENCE the shots total in the game !

      They really need to move on from Ranger Fraser and Gardiner and bring in some better guys who play a more punishing game and have some feet !

      Leivo & DeVanne should be up and Id give Mc Williams another go as well. Id also just keep playing Reilly and keep his confidence up …in his pots game the other night he almost admitted that he would rather play for Team Canada …

      Leafs need to make a trade for 2 D men and a big power forward
      ..i.e Boyle or Girardi from Rangers type player or Toffoli from LA Kings would be a good grab or see if the Sharks would make a deal for Liles and swap the injured Raffi Torres, he would be good when he comes back !

      WHERE IS CLARKSON ….OH MY??? Terrible so far !
      LOST he is playing for the Leafs

      • Clarkson’s struggles wouldn’t be such a big issue if it weren’t for that crazy, stupid contract.

        • Even at 3-4 mill he would still look brutal right now imo lol, but ya I agree it wouldn’t be as big an issue.

          • And no thanks lets keep Gardiner for now. Bad defensive team and you want to trade Phaneuf and Gardiner?

          • @ SHTICKY ……

            What Defensive game or Offesnsive game for that matter has Gardiner got that has is helping with over the last few seasons ….REALLY ???

        • Agreed but unfortunately for him he asked for it when he signed a big contract with Leaf nation. Now he pays the price like so many before him. Say hello to Komiserek, Connelly and McCabe to name a few.

          • That was Clarkson I was talking about btw.

            Anyways I can’t see anything happening with any significant trades until the line up is healthy and Nonis can get a clear view on how this team is going to perform and that includes Carlyle’s job as coach so we will all have to suck it up and wait for a few months when Lupul, Bozak and Bolland all return and guys like Fraser and Franson hopefully return to last years form.

        • You did say that …grrrrr

      • @ LYLE

        I remember the conversation …GRRRRR

        • Why trade gardiner?? Just like typical leaf fans give up on a young player who has some struggles because he can’t possibly get better.. Take a look at subban, karlsonn, even watch Duncan Keith they have all struggled in the defensive zone but one thing they all have in common is good partners. Why not pair jake and soon together. These other pairings aren’t working. I don’t understand why randy gives up so quickly on the forward lines but refuses to mix up the d pairings

          • *dion

          • You can’t teach skating or vision or puck handling like jake has. You can teach positioning and if somehow randy or another coach can get that done with him he’s going to be a top d man

  2. The rebuild in Calgary continues to go better than the one in Edmonton.

    • Justin Schultz logged almost 28min. Wow

      • I didnt get to see it I was in Ottawa.

        • Ahh probably hungover like a MF right now then. Always a tough trip back on the 401 in that shape. LOL

          • Na took the family…lol only way a reasonable person can afford to buy 4-5 tickets to a Leaf game with out it costing 2 weeks pay. I take the family to the games in Ottawa buy 1 ticket and go with friends to the acc and its almost the same amount of coin.

          • A buddy and I go down to the ACC grab cheap scalped purple tickets about 5min after the game starts for about $50 each and head to our seats then after the first period is over we head to the ACC lounge and watch the 2nd and 3rd period on TV at the bar with the fan noise in the back ground. Better then paying $300 each and still have to buy beers in the seats.

  3. A few obvious observations with the Leafs:
    Kadri has stepped up his game. He has had a tendency to get complacent in the past so lets hope the motivation sticks this time.
    Dion is playing really well but one place he should not be is on the power play. His point shots are not accurate and he is way too slow moving the puck up the ice. When he is out there Franson rarely gets a shot on goal which is tough to watch. Taking Dion off the pp would reduce his ice time to a more manageable level so he wouldn’t be as gassed at the end of the game. It would probably help the pp too.
    Fraser is out of sorts, he isn’t hitting as much or fighting. I wonder if that massive facial injury has left him a little gun shy on the parts of his game that were of benefit to the Leafs?
    JVR is unstoppable. Thank god he’s not a free agent this summer.
    Leafs can’t win a faceoff if their life depended on it. Can’t they hire a face off coach to help improve these guys, even by a few percentage points?
    One part of Kessel’s game is reminding me of Denis Savard. Going full tilt into the oppositions end and stopping on a dime then either carrying the puck to the middle or passing off to another guy streaking in full tilt. This is a nice change from the old Phil going full tilt and shooting from a bad angle practically from behind the net. I love this change in his game.
    Mason Raymond seems to control the puck better then anyone on the power play. I would keep him on the first of second unit. No one else controls the puck like he does.

    • The Denis Savard? More like the Daniel Alfredson. Dmen caught on the 2000th time he did it. Beautiful flip pass Kadri made to Gunner last night. Great timing and accuracy. Leafs need to find some shot blockers or something….whats record in a season for giving up shots on goal?

      • Yes, Savard. I remember watching him do this practically every time he played the Leafs. Alfie too your right. Nice to see Phil add another element to his attack.

  4. 2 weeks ago we were all snickering at the notion that the habs were Canada’s best team. Look at them now.

  5. Just a quick comment on Jake Gardiner. In NHL terms, he’s a kid with tremendous upside which he shows from time to time. Way to early to tell what his career path will be.
    Sometimes, though, he makes me think of the joke about a scout describing a prospect – “He’s got everything you could ask for – skill, speed, size. Everything but a clue.”
    I really hope Jake Gardiner has a clue because he can be very exciting to watch.

  6. No matter what, the Leafs are not up to it anymore…and I think the coach needs to go..Its not working