NHL Canadian Corner – March 26, 2014

Canadiens shut out the Sabres, Maple Leafs lose their sixth straight, Senators fall to the Panthers, plus the latest on the Oilers, Canucks, Jets and Flames. 

Carey Price makes one of his 24 saves to shut out the Sabres.

Carey Price makes one of his 24 saves to shut out the Sabres.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Carey Price made 24 saves for his fifth shutout of the season and Max Pacioretty tallied his 100th career NHL goal as the Canadiens blanked the Buffalo Sabres 2-0.

TORONTO STAR: The return of Jonathan Bernier couldn’t save the Maple Leafs from their sixth straight loss, falling 5-3 to the St. Louis Blues. The loss knocks the Leafs to tenth overall in the Eastern Conference.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators blew a 2-0 lead to fall 3-2 to the Florida Panthers in a shootout.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Joe Pavelski scored a hat trick to carry the San Jose Sharks to a 5-2 win over the hapless Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are now the only Canadian NHL team in playoff contention, their win over Buffalo vaulting them over the idle Tampa Bay Lightning (who hold two games in hand) for second in the Atlantic Division. The Leafs are locked in a four-way tie with the Blue Jackets, Red Wings and Capitals, but they drop to tenth on the basis of games-played, as the others hold games in hand. The Senators gained a point to move to within eight points of a playoff berth. 

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: The Sedins logged big minutes this season for the Canucks.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The Jets defense is struggling again.

CALGARY SUN: The hardworking Flames are winning hearts in Calgary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everyone knew the Flames wouldn’t make the playoffs this season. Their work ethic and competitiveness was a pleasant surprise and give them something to build upon in their rebuild.


  1. Loving the defensive systems that Carlyle uses… 5 guys between the dots open points, no pressure. Hope the goalie covers the puck so we can put Magic mits McClemment on the ice to win a draw with Orr who then can lose the puck and let the fire drill continue…If they are lucky maybe they will get the puck and have no one to pass too because there are 5 guys all within 5 feet of one another so they have to ice the puck (which even Dion wasnt smart enough to do last night)

    • Franson looks like a cat chasing a laser pointer every time he is the one back on a 2 on one lunging and jumping for a puck he will never catch. Gunnarrsson is invisible most nights which normally is a good thing for a dman and means he is doing his job, but not on this team…..The Leafs are now a joke under their “defensive minded” coach. Fire Carlyle.

    • Carlyle isn’t the sole reason for this collapse. Anyone can see it runs much deeper.

      • How you figure the Gm is responsible for the amount of shots a team gives up? Im done arguing about Kessel because if you watch him you see he is worth the contract. Top 5 in scoring and points should be paid like an elite player “anyone can see” Id say with the way Reimer has played its a good thing he got Bernier. If a bit of a bumpy road has shook his confidence this bad.its not a guy that I want to be my starter in a game 7 we know how that movie ends. This team has no clue how to play defense that is on the coach. He plays a style of hockey that does npt suit his players again on the coach. Some bad contracts yes is a gms issue but the reason this team is not performing has nothing to do with what guys paycheques are. Clarkson played well in NJ has been a bust as a Leaf Phaneuf with a better scheme and a partner or atleast another guy to relieve pressure would be better. Looked good at the beginning of the year before burnout set in. Quit griping about Nonis this isnt on him as much as the players and coach.

      • Really? You think it runs deeper than the coach? Hmm I wonder why a team has been getting above league average S% but the team still needs more than 4 goals to win games?

        • Need 4 goals to win a game? Lol lets wait till 2/3rds of our top offensive line gets back from the Olympics On a different continent and has played more games then anyone else we got and then we will stop using a fourth line because well who needs a 4 th line? We can play JVR and Kessel a little more They have only played 80 games or so and 20 mins a night…the offense shouldnt dry up too much…. Carlyle is an idiot.

          • Complains about fatigue and schedule and overplays guys like Kessel JVR Phaneuf Bernier uses Colton Orr for 2 mins a night instead of a guy who has some use like D’Amigo or Ashton (both who play pretty defensively responsible) who could likely play quite a few more minutes and actually might produce something other than penalties and turnovers….the list goes on and on. Carlyle is atrocious. Rant is done :-)

          • Ever think Carlyle plays those guys so much because he hasn’t been given good players on the other forward lines and D pairings so he has no choice. That would be the GM’s duty.
            Carlyle needs to go for sure but I still say Dave sucks at contracts but is good with trades. Problem is contracts are just as important as trades in a cap world.

          • Honestly you think Orr is a better hockey player than D’amigo, Ashton, Holland Smith? Same as McClaren if you jad a fourth line that could play 10-12 mins a night that is responsible in their own end and could forecheck you dont think that may be a bit of a help reducing some some shots, amd the ammount of minutes some others play. Im no nhl coach but how good have Gardiner and Rielly looked on the pp lately? Why continue to grind Dion more minutes? Every D has sat at some point this season except Franson you think he is that much better than Gardiner? I dont. Why is Clarkson having such a bad year he is not a great player and a horrible contract but what made jim decent in NJ…. Playing more minutes with better players and on the power play. At tje beginning of the year it ,made some sense to not use him like that wjen things were rolling but they are not now so jere is an idea maybe you switch things up a bit and put him on the 2nd unit pp.for a bit or rotate him through the lineup a little more instead of piling minute on JVR and Kessel.

          • All valid points but saying guys like D’amigo, or Ashton, or Smith playing 10min per game would be enough of a game changer probably isn’t realistic. Now having a forth line like the B’s would be different but I don’t see guys in the Leafs system that can match those guys which falls on the GM.

            I’m not saying you aren’t right about Carlyle’s poor coaching decisions but at the end of the day Nonis has to share in the blame since he has not given Carlyle the depth guys he needs. Clarkson has been given tons of rope by Carlyle, some times to much, and he has proven nothing in return.

            Phaneuf is not a leader yet Nonis resigns him for 7 more years. Burn out? Maybe but other D men getting paid the same as Dion who play just as much and don’t burn out at the most crucial time of the year. Is he not in their calibre? No but he is paid like he is so that falls on the GM.

            I have to laugh when I hear Dion say “We have been playing so pretty good hockey lately”. That is our leader?

          • Nonis hasnt given Randy depth? He went out got Bolland Holland Gleason Bernier Clarkson Raymond Smithson Bernier Clarkson all within the past year to fit in to Randys plans…how is that working out? You are saying a gm should be fired because you dont like a couple of contracts he has signed but fail to see things he was a big part of Kadri Gardiner Rielly Bernier JVR Raymond getting a top 5 player to stay ect ect. It makes no sense There is not really any excuse this is on Randy and the players, what else is Nonis going to do start trading guys like Kadri Gardiner Kessel and JVR away.the d is brutal now so trade away Phaneuf and have Franson or Gardiner playing 30 mins? If Phaneuf is as bad as you say he is who is trading a better d man for him?

          • Well in rebuttal to your argument I could easily just say, Nonis kept Randy all year even though the Leafs have been out played and out shot all year long. It was plain to see from the first few months Carlyle wasn’t going to work out (don’t say you weren’t calling for his head two months after the season started) and the Leafs were probably going to miss the playoffs. Therefore… who is at fault for keeping Carlyle’s well past his expiry date? The actual coach (can’t fire himself) or the guy who let him coach?

            You can blame Randy for everything but at the end of the day Nonis calls the shots and the Leafs are going to miss the playoffs unless then win 6 of the final 8 games. Phaneuf has been playing some of his worst games of his career right now at the most important time of year, Reimer has lost all confidence after he was passed over and banished to the bench from day one, Clarkson skates around like a goon most nights, and the list goes on. Nonis has to share in the blame is all I was saying.

  2. Bye, Bye to the Leafs playoffs hopes (which I called two months ago btw).
    IMO this is just the start of a long bitter end to this teams over inflated contracts to Kessel, Phanuef and Clarkson. Carlyle will be fired but Nonis is just as guilty after watching a season where Bernier was clearly brought in to supplant Reimer even after Reim’s took the B’s to game 7 last spring. Bernier may be the better goalie but to clearly undermine the progress of Reimer and mess with the team chemistry in this way even after Reimer was a major factor in his teams over achievement in the playoffs made no sense. He should have been the number one this year or traded when Bernier was brought in, simple as that. It stinks of bad management by the GM.
    Over paying certain players because some other team will in the off season is not a reason to do so too. You cripple your cap space for years to come which is just more bad management.
    Time will tell but I see Nonis getting the axe at the end of next year.

    • Everyone called the leafs not making playoffs 2 months ago lol. They were one game over 500 Then they went on a 10 1 and 2 run before olympics.worse thing would ti go on a tear 7 and 1 and make the playoffs. I want change

  3. I just do NOT understand how the richest sports franchise in the world (or 2nd) just can’t get it together. Money to burn but unable to use that to an advantage. Relentless fan support and critical pressure to get better but NO DICE. What has been wrong the last 50+ years?

  4. I would bring in a new gm and new coach that will rebuild the right way. Carlye isnt gd with young players. And nonis clearly isnt a gd gm. All the proof is in the pudding with dion extention. Have a fire sale with players. Only players i keep are kadri kessel jvr bozak reilly and gardiner and .maybe bodie I try and resign bolland and keep clarkson. Hopefully a new team with new managment and leadership will have better stucture. So that would help clarkson. (Coming from team with the best structure in leaugue) Get as much as you can in draft picks and prospects for rest of players lupul phaneuf reimer ect. So what if we miss playoffs next year. Gd year to do so. And defence would couldnt look worse with a couple call ups. Also our problem is our first and second line creates all offense off of rush. When you dont control puck down low you will get dominated. What pisses me off the most is carlye will sit gardiner and kadri and at times kessel when they make a mistake however phaneuf makes 3 mistakes a period and is still out there. And for the lo e of god take franson and phaneuf off first pp. And as for all you clarkson haters at least he sticks up for teammates.

    • Sorry and obviously keep bernier too

      • So keep anyone having a decent second half and discard the rest until the time comes that those guys aren’t playing up to their potential then discard them too until you have a whole new line up. lol

        It’s easy to pick only guys having a decent 30 game stretch. The notion is a little silly.