NHL Canadian Corner- January 19, 2012.

Leafs split up Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul…What’s wrong with Vancouver’s second line?…Flames Curtis Glencross to have knee examined…Jets poised for another second half swoon?…Senators’ Peter Regin’s season is over…Oilers believe injuries due to bad luck…Canadiens Carey Price still hopeful of making the playoffs.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs have split up Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul in hopes of bolstering their production elsewhere.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: The Canucks second line is struggling, as Ryan Kesler tries to regain his form, Chris Higgins plays through energy-draining antibiotics, and David Booth is only two games returned from a knee injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If things don’t improve over the next three or four weeks, that could push management to seek help via the trade market.

Glencross returns to Calgary for knee examination.

CALGARY HERALD: Flames forward and leading goalscorer Curtis Glencross has returned to Calgary to have his knee examined.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If it’s serious and sidelines Glencross for a lengthy period, it’ll be a serious blow to their offense, as well as their playoff hopes.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are starting to struggle, raising concerns they’re about to suffer a second half swoon similar to that of last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s also given rise to suggestions the club will become “sellers” at the trade deadline. Check out my Rumors page for details.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators report center Peter Regin’s season is over due to a nagging shoulder injury.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers lengthy string of injuries is chalked up to “bad luck”, but they aren’t using it as an excuse for their poor performance.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Canadiens goalie Carey Price remains hopeful his club can still make the playoffs, but in the wake of their recent loss, said the time to start turning things around is now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I applaud Price’s optimism, but it’s not looking good for a second half comeback for Montreal.


  1. Wilson stinks of desperation splitting up Kessel and Lupul. I will make a prediction and say that either the experiment won’t last more then one period/game OR that Kessel left without Lupul will fade into oblivion due to the fact Lupul is the only one on that line that hits, stands in front of the net, mixes it up and grinds in the corners. He also has the speed and hands to be with Kessel. Please someone tell me how wrong I am that sticking 3 guys who are light on the puck together on a line (Lombardi, Bozak and Kessel) is asking for failure. Who knows maybe Lombardi will take the body and grind it out opening up the ice for Kessel like Lupul does… Not

    Wilson should be fired for this move alone.

  2. Ron Wilson is an idiot if he thinks that splitting up Kessel and Lupul will help the other lines by generating more scoring. Instead of having just 1 line scoring, he’ll now have no lines scoring. Way to go Ron !

  3. I agree with you FireWilson. This move will last one, maybe two, periods before they are back together. A big “if” coming into this year was secondary scoring. “If” Grabo, kulemin can improve on last year, “if” Lombardi can break out, “if” Kadri can stick and produce. There’s no doubt that Kessel and Lupul are more than deserving of crazy kudos for this season because if they were even playing 15% below the level they are currently at then Toronto would be around Montreal and we would watch the battle of the Toilet Bowl between two turds on 6 Saturday nights a season. Yes, habs are turds right now and Leafs have official underdog status for this season. What still boggles my mind is three (or is it four?) straight years of bottom5 PK. That is all about coaching and bringing in players to do that dirty job. It’s about studying teams PP before you play and making little adjustments to your system when needed. I don’t know if Leafs website message boards talk about that, but that would be a major issue for me as a fan. Heck, I’m willing to see all montreals coaches go because of this years PP and line juggling. With a top 5 PP for the last 4-5 years i cannot stand seeing what it has become (30th). It used to be guaranteed that the Canadiens would score a PP goal a game if you gave them more than 2 tries. Now it’s actually embarrassing to watch. Ugh, I’m digressing big time. Leafs should have made coaching changes before this season. Then they sniffed playoffs in Dec and Wilson gets a extension (????). If the Leafs miss playoffs again then I have to wonder how much more rope Burke has? That’s a lot of revenue that the Leafs have missed over the better part of a decade and I think the new ownership group might want to change that.

  4. Firewilson you never get old even if every post you plead to us or whomever that Wilson gets fired, nice comedy in the am for me. FYI you and SmielmaN (stick to cheering for your HAbs, they need it) the reason wilson is splitting up those two is solely for DEFENSIVE reasons and not to “spread” the offense around. Also for the 100th time, the PP which has been perfect since the new year, I think the PK has now killed a perfect 12 for 12 and since Wilson has been here yes the PK has had issues unlike his past teams and in Toronto they fired the coaches responsible for both the special teams over the past off season… how is it still Wilson’s fault again? Is he the guys between the pipes in net for them, because who ever that is they are below average, average being .920

  5. I highly doubt Gillis brings in a top 6 forward prior to the deadline. The only new faces I see coming are 4th liners and/or defensive depth. The Canucks have been playing mediocre (at best) since Boston but are still collecting points. The production will come.

  6. @Donnybrook
    Your coach Wilson will have made the playoffs a grand total of 8 times in 18 years if he misses again this year. Out of those 8 times he only has made it past the 3rd round ONCE even though he has been equiped with some stellar players. How’s that for a coaching record…

    What you fail to realize is this wasn’t a full rebuild like Edmonton. Wilson has been give way more rope than any other coach in the NHL. He has proven he can’t install a defensive system, having one of the worst pk’s over the past THREE YEARS along with one of the worst goals against. Our defense men have been made to look like fools on most nights due to defensive systems installed by the coach. Actually maybe it’s the assisstants fault. Oh that’s right he fired them all and hand picked his own guys. Not only should he be fired but it’s time he hangs em up along side Quinn.

  7. FireWilson, I have to disagree with you sorry. Wilson took over the reins of his past 3 teams that were expansion teams or beginning a rebuild (4 if you count Toronto). In every case, your correct – he never won in the end. But you can say that about 29 guys every year about not winning the cup, it happens.

    However with Wilson and all his abrasiveness and BS every past team he has left, he left teams that were/are quite respectable. He may not be the coach that will be raising the cup but you know what, my 8-ball never really works so you never know, but in any case, the work he did (which will lead me to your point about the rebuild) identifying players that can play a system which btw is what Burke wants the team to play and have Burke ship them out. In fact the only players that survived from 3YEARS ago (want to emphasize the time) is Kulemin and Schenn as rookies playing in the NHL. Considering that how isn’t this a “full rebuild like Edmonton”? Because its better in every way? Toronto may not have top 1 or 2 picks like Edmonton already playing in the NHL ready or not but they do have a prospect ranking that was somewhere among the bottom in hockey futures to one of the top prospect pools in the league since Burke took over. The coaching, management teams as well as the scouting has been revamped, can you say that about other teams that are “fully rebuilding like Edmonton” or none of this counts because a real or full rebuild is done with lotto picks?

    *drops mic

  8. @Donny
    I think we agree on some points and not others. I thought Wilson might be the answer even after he kept getting smoked in SJ year after year when they were favoured to win the cup. The issue I have is pretty much with this year as they have not improved much over last year, point wise, pk wise or goals against. This was supposed to be the break out year but it hasn’t happened. I still see the same defensive blunders game in and game out like last year. Three years is a long time for a coach in this league so my opinion is his time is up. Then again the Leafs play their next 6 games against what should be easier opponents so they could be on a 6 game win streak in two weeks.

  9. Wilson split up Kessel and Lupul because Kessel while probably being one of the purest goal scorers in the NHL has yet to learn how to back check and will turn and run at the sight of an opposing check coming his way. he will not fight along the boards but rather slinks out to a good scoring position and waits for a pass – as most good goal scorers do BUt most goal scorers also fight for the puck to try and get it out front for their linemates. Kessel is a liability and always has been. His plus/minus is horrible and poor Lupul has been stuck with all the heavy work and hard checking.

  10. The Canuck’s second line struggling is not that big of a deal at this point because the first line is struggling too. The last few games has seen the Sedin’s playing poorly and not carrying the load. The second line has just been reunited with Booth coming back from injuring his knee but also Higgins is about 75% rather than his normal self. I wouldn’t worry too much about the #2 line but rather more about #1.
    Something i want to get off my chest is the play of Max LaPierre. When he came in last year he was a breath of fresh air for the 4th line and actually worked his way up onto the third and even at times was on the PP but this year he is an average 4th liner at best and when he had his last fight he looked like he wanted to be anywhere but in the ice and he either lost (in my eyes) or in some eyes it was a draw. If he could be part of a package I wouldn’t mind seeing him go. He needs to be an energy guy to play on this team and he wither needs a battery recharge or a ticket out of town.

  11. Donnybrook – oh trust me, I’m not cheering for the leads, but to suggest that the leads PK woes are over because of a 12/12 run is pretty funny and not reasonable. That’s like saying a team that’s won three in a row is the best team in the league and won’t have issues for the rest of the year. Come playoff time if a team cant kill a PP, they don’t advance. The coaches have all the responsibility for strategy. Not sure why these comments by me and Firewislon caused such a stir, but it wasn’t my intention. Just wanted to concur withFW about his post. If the leafs can go 40/40 on the PK I’ll admit they turned a corner on that, but a 2-3 games without a PP goal against doesn’t prove it to me. Plus thu have lost 3 in a row, I think.

  12. Fucking iPhone. “Leafs” not leads. Damn it!!!!!

  13. Good points, but it only makes sense to split them up since they have been struggling defensively.
    We should have won the last game, but defensive blunders have hurt us all year. If the leafs can figure out the other half of the rink, we will jump in that 8th spot.