NHL Canadian Corner – February 2, 2014

Maple Leafs down the Senators, Canadiens fall in OT to the Lightning, Flames win their fifth straight, Oilers lose again, plus updates on the Canucks and Jets.

This controversial hit by Nazem Kadri (left) on Cody Ceci changed the course of Saturday's Leafs-Senators game.

This controversial hit by Nazem Kadri (left) on Cody Ceci changed the course of Saturday’s Leafs-Senators game.

TORONTO SUN/OTTAWA CITIZEN: Phil Kessel’s hat trick lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. The game turned on what the Senators considered a blown non-call on the Leafs Nazem Kadri for boarding Senators defenseman Cody Ceci, which saw Kadri steal the puck and set up Joffrey Lupul for the game-tying goal in the second period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While a questionable call, the Senators allowed that to rattle them. They had blown a 2-0 lead and seemed to fall apart in the third period, when the Leafs ran away with the game.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Nate Thompson scored twice, including in overtime, as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Daniel Briere scored the only goal for the Habs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not to take anything away from Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, but the Canadiens’ offense really didn’t look sharp in this game. Too many missed passes and blown scoring opportunities.

CALGARY HERALD: Mikael Backlund’s two goals (including the winner in overtime) lifted the Calgary Flames to a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild. The Flames have now won five straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month ago the Flames were struggling to score. Now they’re scoring in bunches. That’s how it goes in the first season of a rebuilding process.  Backlund, meanwhile, continues to make himself invaluable for the Flames.

EDMONTON SUN: Goalie Ben Scrivens couldn’t prevent the Oilers from a 4-0 shutout loss to the Boston Bruins.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford looks at the few options the Canucks have if they decide to trade one of their core players before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The best time for that will be in the off-season when teams have more cap space and willingness to spend. They won’t get much before the trade deadline for players under expensive contracts with no-trade clauses.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets hope to continue their recent improvement heading toward the Sochi Olympic break.


  1. Phil doing what Phil does….Classic Kessel.
    Lol He is now tied for most points over the past 3 seasons with Malkin, but is not a “franchise type player”.
    Too “streaky” I guess he should be leading with way more points over that guy.

    • Yeah, leading the Leafs in scoring for the fifth straight season. Reached the 30-goal mark for the fifth time in six seasons. Quick, trade him while his value is still high! 😉

      • Damn where is my like button. I just never got people, Kessel is a great winger, an elite scorer, is improving defensively, and is a proven playoff performer. When the Leafs only had Sundin, this was the dream guy everyone was clamouring to have.

        • Kessel’s problem is he’s not a “good Canadian boy” (or better yet, a “good Ontario boy”), he doesn’t look like many fans perceived a superstar should look like (Google “Phil Kessel Ugly” and you’ll see what I mean) and he doesn’t like talking to the media, which of course in hockey-mad Toronto is a big no-no. None of this is Kessel’s fault. Regardless of age, looks (he’s no more ugly or unusual-looking than most hockey players) and media savvy, Kessel is the best players on the Leafs. Without him, they’re screwed.

          • I don’t think that’s it at all. I think the fans are waiting for Kessel to carry the tam on his back in the playoffs like Malkin has done in the past with Crosby out. It could very well happen this year and if it does then I think you will see fans jump on board and anoint him super star status. In the past Kessel had disappeared when the going got tough in those Boston regular season games so it was refreshing to see him play at a different level last spring in that playoff series. Fans are just saying “show me you can carry a team when it matters most” when it comes to Phil. Proof is in the pudding and the pudding is the playoffs round after round and the proof is not disappearing. Hopefully it happens this year for everyone’s sake.

          • This is crazy….how many times have other franchise type players carried their team in the playoffs? Stamkos, Ovi, Nash Hall Marleau Sounds like yet another excuse on par with he is streaky.
            Kessel is a point per game in the playoffs (21 points 22 games and plus 11 not just last years 7 games n which he did pretty much carry the Leafs) and again is tied for the most points over the past 3 seasons, ahead of guys like Ovi Stamkos Perry Nash Crosby The Sedins Datsyuk. Now are you going to say others were injured? This only would prove that Phil is durable as well. There is absolutely no good reason to say he is not a very high end guy in the nhl. Take him off this team and they don’t make the playoffs or even come close to it. Kessel is definitely a franchise type player no matter what he does there is going to be someone with some lame excuse like this one to say ya but….

        • Shticky – next we should debate the definition of the word “superstar” since it upsets you so much that a guy you have never met (me) and a few others aren’t ready to attach this word to Kessel’s name. Who knows maybe your definition and mine are different. No question Phil is an elite scorer but super star is a whole other category in my book.

  2. Nice standing ovation for Ference back in Boston. Could really tell he enjoyed his time there. I for one fully expected Edmonton to be fighting for a wild card this year, clearly not going to happen. Disappointing to say the least.

  3. Kessel has become a world class player and will likely continue to grow. The stats bear him out. His commitment to the team bear him out as well. He’s developing into one hell of a hockey player and trust me when I say that he didn’t sign that extension just because of the money;although it didn’t hurt.

    Kessel wants to win a Stanley Cup as a member of the Leafs and is currently willing to learn to do just that. Ya he is streaky but hey..a perennial 30 goal per year is just that and nobody can take that from him and furthermore, the man has shown he’s an unselfish teammate on many an occasion.

    Phil Kessel rocks…get it into you..he’s a franchise player too…get that into you…and Burke, for all his faults that this site at times loves to slag upon, did the franchise a favor so get it all and enjoy the PHIL