NHL Canadian Corner – January 21, 2014

Maple Leafs win their fifth straight, Flames fall to the Sharks, Canucks coach Tortorella suspended, Oilers owner writes an open letter to the team’s fans, Jets seek a statement win, Rene Bourque struggling to score, and Senators owner still seeks punishment for Matt Cooke.

Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier makes a save on Coyotes captain Shane Doan.

Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier makes a save on Coyotes captain Shane Doan.

TORONTO SUN: Jonathan Bernier made 39 saves while Nazem Kadri, Phil Kessel and Jake Gardiner enjoyed two-point nights as the Maple Leafs doubled up the Phoenix Coyotes 4-2 for their fifth straight win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All aboard the bandwagon, fair-weather Leafs fans! Though the Leafs are still getting out-shot by large margins, they’ve got their offense working again, which in turn is silencing the calls for management to shake up the roster with trades.

CALGARY HERALD: Joe Pavelski scored twice as the San Jose Sharks downed the Flames 3-2, leaving the latter with only two wins in their last 13 games.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Canucks coach John Tortorella has been suspended 15 days (including six games) for his fiery first-intermission fracas outside the Flames dressing room on Saturday. Flames coach Bob Hartley was fined $25,000 for his role in sparking the melee at the opening faceoff which prompted Tortorella’s reaction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the league is sending a strong message to its coaches to prevent further incidents like this in future.

EDMONTON SUN: Oilers owner Daryl Katz has penned an open letter to the team’s fans apologizing for the club’s struggles this seasonwhile pleading with them to remain patient going forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Katz’s letter sparked largely negative reaction from Oilers fans and Edmonton pundits. After eight seasons of watching their club become a laughingstock, Oilers supporters seem to be running out of patience. They won’t abandon the team, but they’re clearly frustrated over the lack of direction and the “old boys network” in the front office. It remains to be seen if the ongoing struggles eventually hurt the Oilers at the gate.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are seeking a “statement win” when they face off tonight against the league-leading Anaheim Ducks.

LA PRESSE: Canadiens winger Rene Bourque is struggling to snap out of his scoring slump.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk continues to push for Minnesota Wild winger Matt Cooke to be disciplined for what Melnyk considers Cooke’s deliberate injuring of Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Melnyk continues to embarrass himself pursuing Cooke. He’s become hockey’s version of Captain Ahab, and Cooke is his white whale.


  1. NaH I still say trade Lupul, Raymond Kuli, Franson and Reimer (not all at the same time) possibly with a pick get a no 1 center, top 6 guy or a D man. Really starting to like Gleason tho.

    Phil “not the franchise player” Kessel top 7 in scoring again. 3 years running since he turned 23.

    • I won’t touch the Kessel comment since we have a difference of opinion of what a franchise player should bring to his team.

      Gleason has looked good the last few games. I hope he can get Franson going so we can use him as trade bait at the deadline. No point in trying to go into the summer knowing Franson’s contract demands will be to high besides Gardnier and Rielly don’t look so good together. It would be better long term to have Gleason with one of these guys. Kind of a joke that Dion doesn’t play with Gardiner or Rielly to supposedly help make them better. That’s usually the job of the best defender.

      Just realize if the Leafs didn’t have Lupul they probably would have lost 4 of the 6 shoot outs he has scored in plus at least 2 other games he lit it up so that means a total of 8 points the Leafs would not have which puts them way out of a playoff spot. I see your point about moving a vet for younger talent but I would think the summer would be a better time especially if Lup’s has a stellar playoff. Again, I would hate to lose him since he also provides leadership.

      Leafs will be in tough negotiations with Raymond, Reimer, Franson, and Kuli so I’d move them.

    • Not touching Kessel comment other than that in a skills competition he will be the best player ….as long as he gets good open looks in the slot he will produce, other than that he can hang his head on the bench in exhaustion …lol
      The scouting report is out on Franson …go hard and fast down the wing and he gets either caught or beat on the outside as his turns are too slow and players are driving the net …to score or getting a great chance of the wing in a rush, has to sharpen that up.

      Katz open letter is a joke…..if you want to improve the eam than make a bold move to do so or status quo is what you get long term ….this is not a team that will succeed moving forward or the older they get ….to soft and too small down the middle and on the backend …..if they don’t draft Ekblad …….the should fire everyone!
      Even though I know it was Katz call do draft Yakupov when the team staff wanted Rheinhart

    • Team is not even close to being anymore than an interesting first round match up at this point. Lupul (if he isnt already) will be on the downward side of his career soon. Funny people are all about the bad contracts, right now or so far this year Lupul is not worth his contract. He is not getting paid that money to do good in the shoot out. Id move him in a heart beat for a younger top 6.

      • I’d say the 8 points Lupul is responsible for getting the team is worth his contract this year but I agree he could be on a downward trend from here just like Phaneuf most likely will be especially with the ice time Dion logs.

        • If Lupul goes before the summer you will have zero second line scoring. Don’t think for a minute Kadri and Raymond or Clarkson are going to carry the second line. Moving Lups before the summer is a huge mistake.

          • Im not sure I agree…the only person on the second line producing right now is Kadri, and Im not so sure that when the line struggles its not something to do with Lupul or Raymond slumping (Im not saying thats the case Im just not 100% sure its not) Injuries and age says he wont play every game for the rest of the year anyway and I have absolutely no faith in your well his shoot out goals earned us 8 points theory. There is no way you can say 100% that someone else wouldnt be able to score a goal or 2 or 4 in the shoot out. If he misses the net everytime they still get 4 of those 8 points so think about it.
            As I said for awhile now Lupul should be the guy to be traded. Packaged properly I think the proven career top six guy gets you a pretty decent player or gives Levio a spot to play and saves 4 million off the cap. The way this team is built and performing they wont get by the first round with Lupul so I think you take the chance. Worst that happens is short term pain for longer term gain.

          • Buddy seriously. Man when you have an argument you feel you need to win you will say just about anything. I have a buddy like you who stops at nothing to win a debate including making stuff up. lol

            Lupul isn’t even playing with Raymond he has that sniper Kulemin on his line. Kadri creating all the offense? seriously? for all of two games out of the last 50. Lupul hasn’t single handedly gotten the Leafs 8 points? As I said 4 points in a shoot out and 4 points in other games (two wins). Lup’s is 6 for 7 on the shoot out. Ya, maybe Kessel could have been substituted in for Lup’s because Kessel has such a great shoot out record.
            Just admit all this stuff you wrote is just you trying to win a debate and it’s all B.S. and I will admit Lupul is getting older and is prone to injury and lets agree the Leafs will need him in the playoffs (if they make it) and can still move him in the summer for just as good a return if they feel it’s the right direction.

    • Yawn. Kessel remarks by people that say ‘I won’t touch the Kessel comment since we have a difference of opinion of what a franchise player should bring to his team.’ and then follows it up with this classic, ‘Kind of a joke that Dion doesn’t play with Gardiner or Rielly to supposedly help make them better. That’s usually the job of the best defender.’

      First off, what more can you want from a player who over the past five years is top five in goal scoring? You do know that hockey is basically won by the team that ends up scoring the most goals, right? Here’s a player who in the past little while is scoring at a 2.0ppg rate. Ya franchise players don’t do things like that, you and idiots like you are right.

      2nd, why on earth would you pair your best defender with inexperienced players? To develop them or something? How does that help you having a top defender mentor a young one while trying to shut down top offensive players? Is that how you want young dmen like gardiner or rielly to get acclaimed to the nhl, have them face the ovs and crosbys of the league right away? Good luck buddy.

      • Sorry not worth responding to you or reading your negativity towards other posts. Not worth my time.

  2. i suspected Tortorella would get 5 games so i wasn’t that surprised by his suspension. Tortorella shouldn’t have gone anywhere near the Flames locker room but the league could’ve sent a stronger message by suspending Hartley for a move that was straight out of Junior hockey instead of giving him a meaningless fine that the Flames will cover somehow. the league also missed a chance to rein in illegal stickwork by suspending Hanzal for the THREE Canuck players (Sedin, Santorelli, and Booth) he injured in their last game against Phoenix. he crosschecked Booth in the head (giving him a facial laceration), Sedin in the ribs (bruising his ribs and prompting the end of a streak of 679 games), and wrenched Santorelli’s arm over his head (straining his right shoulder). for those 3 incidents he got a single 2 minute penalty and a measly $5000 fine. in a word BRUTAL!

    • I agree except I thought 6 games was a bit much considering a coach can completely go nuts on an umpire in baseball and all he gets is ejected from the game. It’s not like Tort’s actually hit or swung at anyone. Just more shouting as per his usual shtick. I guess they want to teach this guy a lesson once and for all but now it opens up big suspensions for other coaches that may lose it from time to time but have no history of this conduct.

      • How or why are we so surprised …at this ..Torts was a bed hiring to begin with …if anyone thought this guys was going to change you are def dumb and blind …

        Gillis really took a step back with this hiring …AV was the better choice to stay he knew this team inside and out and the buttons it took to push ….but kept a low profile and a classy approach to his efforts especially with the Luongo fiasco Gillis put the whole organization in….How Gillis has his job is beyond me….he has ownership drinking the kool aid …..IMO ownership needs to make a big change in direction and that shoulld be without Gillis and torts and start a new ERA as this team needs some major tinkering moving forward !

        • Bad hiring? How’s the Rangers look this year with the exact same team and a far weaker division? I think Torts is doing an alright job, Im not a Van fan thats for sure so I guess its somewhat of a compliment.

  3. Funny at the start of the year i said trade lupul for a gd solid dman or gd prospect. i said yandle for Lupul because PHX needs scoring toronto needs Defence. Lupul value is going to keep going down. Now it is going to be Lupul plus maybe Franson. But i think we could still get a gd dman in return or a gd prospect. and have a young forward come up from the marlies and play.

  4. what about dan giradi and prospect for Lupul. Yes i know he is a UFA so maybe give TOR right to work out contract. and Lupul get his wish to play one day in New York.

  5. Hey shtickey remember i said include Tyler Biggs in a trade he will be a bust. And Levio looks like he could develop into a top six forward. You said it would be stupid to trade Biggs or any young players. Well he still looks like the player that gives zero effort as he did in the OHL. Now he has no trade value. I seen him play alot in the OHL 3 times live and about 10 times on tv. He stinks even playing with Boone Jenner. it is the same game every night he starts the game with a big hit then you dont see him for the rest of the game.

    • Hey remember how I said give Biggs a year or 2 to develop he has only spent 1 year in the ohl and college hockey doesnt really suit that type of players development? Ya Im still saying that. Im not understanding the rest because he has been on the Marlies all year, and was almost a point a game guy in his only year in the ohl and looked ok any time I seen him here in Kingston.

  6. And Phil is not a franchise player. just because he puts up points does not make him a franchise player. he is not Getzlaf tavares crosby ovie giroux Tavares Weber Toews stamkos. Then there are other players that are second best on there team that are not franchise player. Malkin kane Keith Perry. if you were having a mock draft with the 30 teams and any player available kessel prob wouldnt get drafted until round 2. Phil is not a leader at all and could never be a captain. but like you said he is top 7 in scoring so he should beat out one of the 9 guys i mentioned lol. Dont get me wrong really gd player and love him on my team when he is scoring but nowhere close to a FRANCHISE player. Get a grip on reality.

    • No. Phil is ahead of most of those guys. In fact only three have scored more goal than him over the past 5 years. I bet you don’t know who the three are! Here is where I have a problem with your logic and maybe (I seriously doubt it) you can explain it to me because if phil is better at scoring goals, the things that eventually lead to winning a hockey game, than all but three of these FRANCHISE players, who exactly is Phil Kessel not one?

      • * who = why

    • Remind me again what does Ovi does besides pick up points? Its not back check thats for sure, watch a game or 2 (besides Leaf games) turn off sports center and x-box.Over the past couple seasons I think you have seen Kessel use his speed alot more to break up plays coming back towards his net. Now you named Perry in that list, tell me does he have a true no. 1 center, Stamkos is for sure a franchise player but imagine if St.Louis is the center between JVR and Kessel, How many points or goals you think Phil is getting? If the Hawks only have Kane or Towes never mind Hossa you think they still put up those gawdy numbers? Great teams with the franchise players you speak of have more than guys like Lupul Raymond Bozak playing in their top 6. Im not saying they are not franchise players Im saying Phil is too.

      • Phil is making strides towards being a franchise player I just don’t think he is there yet. Lets see if he can single handedly get the buds in the playoffs and get them out of the first round riding his coat tails. If he can do this he will have made the jump to franchise player in my book.

  7. he is our Franchise player because he is all we have just like Phanuef is our #1 Dman.

    • Yes because when you’re a player who gets to or is considered to be chosen to play for your country must mean your over rated or not elite. Considering the amount of players to choose from, I would say only top players are spoken in the same breath. So it’s not they are the leafs franchise players or #1 because it’s all ‘we’ have – didn’t know you’re on the team but…

  8. oh lord,bourque has to find some heart.he has to apply himself more,he has to hit, fight ,and crash the net like powerforwards are supposed to do.he has size and speed with a deadly shot.its a shame,he seems like good guy to have in the locker room with his experience.if not he has to go,theres no time to p****foot around.

  9. People always find ways to hate on Kessel. I am an Ottawa fan so I dislike Kessel on principle, but respect him as a player and he really is a franchise player. Let’s take a trip through history.

    1. Trade cost – two 1st round picks + 2nd round = franchise player level trade
    2. Will never be worth Seguin = Kessel is better than Seguin
    3. Kessel is a weak player and will disappear in the playoffs = 21 pts in 22gp and a +11 … Kessel is BETTER in the playoffs
    4. Kessel isn’t a franchise player = About to complete his 5th 30+ goal season, getting better defensively, leads team in points, plays with virtual nobody

    Sorry, Phil Kessel is one of the best wingers in the NHL, one of the best active American born players, and hands down the Leafs best player and a player you should be extremely happy to have. If you want to get rid of him, I’ll happily take him in Ottawa, please tell me what you would like in return.

  10. Anyways I think we can all agree not a whole lot has changed since this latest win streak by the Leafs started. Other then the Montreal game the buds are still getting out shot and out played for good stretches of each game. Some major changes are still desperately needed.

  11. Phil is our franchise player yet there is 25 players i would rather build my team around. He puts up points but isnt used in all situations as other players. And he is to streaky. If he isnt scoring he is a liability. I still think he is a great player dont get me wrong but he is not the leader that a typical franchice player would be.

  12. I still think he is worth 8million in todays market. But i think we need a player with his abilities that does everyting the same and kills pentalies and is a leader in the dressing room. But Toews tavares types players don’t grow on trees. I am from sudbury and saw alot LEVIO and am hiflgh on him. As for Biggs him live 3 times in ohl and earlier this year in Marlie game. Do not understand how he is higher prospect then Levio. Hopefully he is a player that takes 3 years in ahl to devolp but doubt it. He was playing on a team with jenner and Laughton. And wasnt physical for gis size at all. Way to soft

  13. Sorry for spelling. I am on a mobile device. Respect your Kessel franchise player remarks just think there is 25 better suited franchise type players in Nhl. But i am and was a big Kessel supporter when Burke made the trade