NHL Canadian Corner – January 17, 2012.

Ryan Kesler unhappy with Canucks coach comments over his performance…Jets shut out Senators, but are they too thin to secure a playoff berth?…Shawn Horcoff struggling to score…Blake Comeau promoted…Tyler Bozak reunited with Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul…Canadiens face long odds to make playoffs.


Canucks coach critical of Kesler's performance.

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks forward Ryan Kesler wasn’t pleased with head coach Alain Vigneault’s critique of his recent performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out soon enough if this spurs Kesler to improve his play to Vigneault’s satisfaction.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Chris Mason got the shutout as the Winnipeg Jets downed a listless Ottawa Senators team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Senators were looking ahead to tonight’s tilt against Toronto?

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen doubts the Jets have the depth in talent to match up well against the Eastern Conference’s top teams, acknowledging it’ll take a complete team effort (like the one displayed in the 2-0 victory over Ottawa) if they’re to make the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friesen has a point about their talent depth, as they clearly lack a superstar, but if they play well as a team down the stretch, they stand a good chance of clinching a berth. I don’t believe this will push the Jets into the trade market to acquire a superstar player at the trade deadline, simply because the return would devastate their depth.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff has been struggling to score, potting only eight thus far this season, and scoring only once since November 25th.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s yet another reason why the Oilers has declined dramatically since their hot start to the season.

CALGARY HERALD: To match Jarome Iginla with Mike Cammalleri, the Flames have moved Blake Comeau into Iginla’s spot with Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’re also hoping this will spark Comeau’s scoring touch, which has remained largely dormant this season.

TORONTO SUN: Tyler Bozak will be reunited with Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul for tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens face long odds of making the playoffs this season.


  1. Interesting read;

    Wall, NJ: Two NY Rangers fans who were attacked and beaten outside a Philadelphia eatery on January 2, 2012, after the Rangers vs. Flyers match up are about to receive the star treatment thanks to a business owner with ties to former team members. Peter Grandich, founder of Trinity Financial Sports & Entertainment Management Co., LLC, will host the two men, Neal Auricchio Jr., of Woodbridge and Michael Janocko, of Avenel, at the February 12th Rangers game. Grandich will treat the pair to a private suite that they will share with former Rangers Nick Fotiu and Ron Greschner. “Former Ranger and Trinity Financial board members Nick Fotiu and Ron Greschner both contacted me shortly after the beating incident in Philly asking what we could do to show support to these Rangers fans,” explains Grandich.

    Auricchio, a new dad with a 3-month old baby, is a Woodbridge Police officer and Iraq war veteran. He received the Purple Heart for his service in Iraq. As a result of the unprovoked beating the two endured at the hands of Flyers fans as they were waiting for cheesesteaks after the outdoor Winter Classic hockey game at Citizens Park Bank, Auricchio is said to require surgery and the installation of steel plate under his eye to heal a fracture. Both men suffered head injuries, and Janocko also suffered an orthopedic injury.

    Grandich contacted the pair through friends in the NJ State Police to invite them to the Rangers vs. Capitals game and both men were thrilled to accept.

    Full Article at http://www.grandich.com/

  2. Bozak 6ft 200lbs
    Connelly 6ft 200lbs
    Grabovski 5’11 185lbs

    Take off the fact these figures are probably with skates on and equipment I’d say Boz and Connelly are more like 5-10″ 185lbs and Grabovski is a strapping 5’9″ 170lbs. Not quite the top 3 centers Burke promised with his proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence speach. Every GM in the NHL with a decent sized top line center must know they have Burke over a barrel and is asking the moon if they are inclined to move them.

  3. I believe the 6’5 200+ lbs Colbourne sitting in the minors is the answer with the proper patience and development.

  4. Colbourne is big and soft

  5. FireWilson even the best player to ever play wasn’t a big body… he was what 5-10 5-11 180lbs? Its how one plays not their size that matters even if being bigger has an advantage plus not all “big body players” play big. Try to come up with an original though instead of repackaging what other MSM members (who don’t know shit – like Rosie and her dumb insights) said.

    So since you don’t watch games I guess nor look at stats to see for yourself since relying on what writers write as the word of god… the only member of those three that is not physical is Connelly and we all knew that when we traded for him. I guess the concept of making the best what you can when you can is a concept unfamiliar to some, especially to sports fans whose team in still rebuilding.

  6. I could care less if the Leafs centers were all 6’6″ and 210. When it comes down to it hockey is a sport that is won with your heart and determination. Sure size helps out a bit but there are too many “big bodied” players who always seem to lose puck battles and races to the puck simply because the other guys wanted it more and was wiling to sacrifice for his team. If you watch the Leaf games you will remember the first goal against the Sabers when the Leafs lost 3-2. Connelly pussed out going into the corner, the bigger Saber went around him, took the puck and fired and assist in front for the first goal.

    Don’t think Darcy Tucker or Doug Gilmour would have ever pussed out like that…they were both what…5’10” 190 lbs on a good day.

    It is a heart game. Always has been always will be. Gretzky didn’t really hit but you could tell he played with his heart. Until the leafs get a bunch that play with their heart first they will continue to struggle…luckily for us leaf fans we are seeing a lot more HEART on a regular basis…thus a better record. Sh*t, Kessel is even playing some defense!!!

  7. And my friend…..that is why Connelly is no longer a Sabre – we have endured Tiny Tim for years. Your right -hockey does come down to heart and determination – check out Gerbe, Briere, Gionta, Parise – not big guys, but big hearted, energized and have the “will to win”. That is what the Sabres are lacking and looking for – we need a veteran presence that will bring leadership and the “will to win” back to the club – that is what Peca had!

  8. The Kesler/Vignealt problem is and has been created by the media. By not giving him the exact quote and then asking Kessler to comment he just replied to what he had heard. The coach did not insult or besmirch Kessler but rather was talking about an overall poor team effort. Had the coach decided to really put the spot light on Kessler he could have brought up his one assist in the last 9 games and lack of spirited play. Mountain out of a molehill on a slow sports news day.

  9. @ Donnybrook

    First I’ll start off by thanking you for the insults and return them by calling you a jackass before answering the rest of your post.

    1. I assume you are referring to the great one when you say the best player of all time was 5’11. Yes you are correct but you forget the last thing Gretz said before he retired was that the guys are getting to big and fast for him to compete in this new era. Secondly he played along side some animals like Semenko, Brown and McSorley when there wasn’t an instigator rule as opposed to Kessel being flanked by Bozak or Connelly to grind it out in the corners and protect his small ass on the ice, so bad comparison.
    2. I have watched almost every game this year and have no idea what you are talking about when you say MSN members but the fact you say Connelly is the only one that isn’t physical out of Bozak, Connelly and Grabovoski tells me you have never watched even one Leaf game. I almost crapped my pants laughing at your stupid comment suggesting Bozak is a physical player.
    3. I never said you can’t have an unbelievable small player on a line ala St Louis or Kessel but you can’t have the majority of your top 3 lines comprised of small guys and expect to win against teams like the Rangers and Bruins. So thank you for your uncanny insight into running an NHL team.
    Remove the small non-physical players like Kessel, Bozak, Connelly, Grabovski, Kadri, and Lombardi that leaves you with Lupul, MacA and Kulemin to be the physical force. You ever consider that may be why the Leafs are 0-4 against the B’s this year.

    @JBJ Totally agree if he keeps developing at this pace. He’s still about two years off from being a force for the Leafs which doesn’t help us this year or next. I’d like to keep him if possible and not trade him.

  10. @FireWilson I’ve posted elsewhere yesterday and I know it sucks but I am totally cool with not competing for the playoffs for another two years if it means letting someone like Little Joe C developing into an elite player. Honestly I would like to see Kadri and Gardiner back in the AHL working on their skills as well. It’s not that I don’t think they are good, I just think that getting them to work on their small game stuff, using their body, going into corners, making smart passes, better vision on the ice with their natural skill could give them more confidence and make them more effective in the NHL.

    IMO the Leafs should stay the course, continue to draft players and then be patient while developing them. I think a big thing that has happened is our D has been rushed too fast and had high expectations placed on them. The Wings franchise is the perfect franchise model and I would like to see Toronto be patient and mimick that. I think we have some core players on the roster, Kulemin, Grabo, Kessel, Phaneuf, Franson, Lupul, Schenn that should never be moved.

    The Leafs have the chance to be a great team and I think they should look to the draft to try and get that size they are missing. I think in 2-3 years we are going to have an effective Colborne, Biggs, Broll (who I think will shock). If we stay the course and get them playing with Lupul and Kulemin then we are going to have five big forwards with skills who can play well with Grabo, Kessel, D’Amigo, McKegg, Frattin who are all around or coming through the system and displaying tons of talent. Its all about patience and just looking at it now it could turn out well for us.

  11. @Fire
    Man, you sure hate Bozak. As he returns tonight, we will see the other half of your controlled experiment. Ha. Whatever, hate whomever you want. But I think Connelly is a total piece, so really there isn’t much of an argument. Sorry to hear I had your blood boiling. If you aren’t a Bruin fan, I really didn’t mean it.

  12. @Tux
    I have to admit you were partly right. Connelly isn’t the saviour but I still think he is about 20% better then Boz. I don’t hate Bozak at all I just think he’s a third line center that keeps getting thrust into a top line role without the skill level or physical nature to compliment Kessel and Lupul. There is no question Lupul and Kessel can operate on their own as far as points so I would say a centerman that can win draws, takes the body, stands in front and crashes the net, can grind in the corners, and plays a good defensive game could be a nice to compliment on that line. If you know of anyone that fits that role and doesn’t have brick hands please tweet his resume to Wilson and Burke.

    I totally agree with everything you said but I don’t think Burke ever did otherwise why do the trade for Kessel two years ago and say you are in it to win now and not to tear it down and start from scratch. If the plan is to build for a four or five year period then you don’t do that Kessel deal for two first rounders. Seems like Burke is in it to win now so I think you are going to see another blockbuster that moves out some good youth (possibly some of Schenn, Aulie, Gunnarson, Colborne or Kadri) for a 25 to 28yr old bigger centerman. Just a feeling if Burke can find one…

  13. I can honestly deal with losing Aulie, Gunnarson, and Kadri. I think I’d cry to lose Schenn or Colborne as I think they are a huge part of the future. If Burke feels the need to make one more move then I hope he can flip Connelly, Gunnarsson, Kadri, and a depth pick for whatever he is looking for at the most.

  14. If I were Burke I’d hold off on any blockbusters till next year. While there can be the Cinderella story team nearly every year it’s not going to be the leafs. Usually those teams get some stellar goaltending and great defense, so as you can see it won’t be the leafs.

    The monster is a hot/very cold type of goalie and well riemer I just don’t think is the answer. Evaluate your current roster and let some young guys get in next year, then make a splash if there is one to be made. Don’t get stuck in mediocrity because you think you’re better than you actually are and hope that somehow you can win it all now.