NHL Rumors – January 19, 2012.

The Leafs pressing need, possible moves by the Senators, Wild not dealing from a position of strength, and Flyers Jakub Voracek in line for a significant raise.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Buffery reports the Maple Leafs lack of size is hurting them, and called upon GM Brian Burke to address this sooner rather than later.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s what Burke’s been doing in recent weeks, but so far there isn’t much out there to suitably address his needs. That being said, Burke is renowned for his major trades well before the deadline, so I daresay he’ll pull the trigger within the next two-three weeks.

OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan interviewed Senators GM Bryan Murray, who expressed his happiness with his club’s performance this season, but hinted at perhaps adding ” a substantial piece” in the coming weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He could look at adding another top six forward or perhaps a second-pairing defenseman. Also, I have to admit that I was wrong in my criticism of the Senators retaining Murray as their general manager to rebuild their roster. While it was Murray’s questionable trades and free agent signings which contributed to the Senators demise between 2007 and 2011, it’s also been his savvy moves since the middle of last season which has made the Senators a much-improved club this season. That deserves acknowledgement, and for the sake of the Senators and their fans, here’s hoping he’s learned his lesson and sticks with the current rebuilding plan.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher is desperate to make a trade which can improve his sinking club’s performance, but he’s not dealing from a position of strength, and rival GMs know this and are trying to exploit it. “The Anaheim Ducks have dangled top forward Bobby Ryan, whom Fletcher played a part in drafting. The Buffalo Sabres, having struggles similar to the Wild’s, are shopping Drew Stafford, Derek Roy and Brad Boyes. The Rangers are offering Wojtek Wolski and Erik Christensen. In terms of rentals available now, Columbus is willing to trade Vaclav Prospal, Edmonton Ales Hemsky and Carolina Tuomo Ruutu”, reports Russo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  I doubt the Ducks part with Ryan, but if they’re willing to, the asking price would be too expensive for the Wild. The Sabres are believed seeking equal value for those forwards. Wolski and Christensen won’t help the Wild, while Hemsky’s injury history and declining performance makes him a “buyer beware” acquisition. Prospal and Ruutu would be the best bets to help the Wild, but the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes undoubtedly want a quality prospect and/or high draft pick as part of the return.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers forward Jakub Voracek’s performance this season puts the restricted free agent in line for a significant raise.


  1. I’d say the pressing need for the Leafs is to find a coach that doesn’t continually make bone head moves.

  2. Teddy Purcell, Richard Panik, Garon and Kubina for Harding and ZanoN?

  3. When the Leafs got Kadri, there was talk because they were gunning for Braydon Schenn. Burke was also known for his draft peddling. As you know, talk is cheap. It may just be that people are expecting the unexpected, ramping up GM defenses against Burke, refusing to make deals with him because they know how “charming” he can be, so they equip themselves with mirror shields and try to deal with “weak” GMs to get better deals. I don’t believe he’s going to make the trade this year. The other teams are probably wanting too much from him and so he can’t make the moves he wants to make.

    You’re right about Bryan Murray, Lyle. I’ve been slamming him bad in the last two years for turning Ottawa from a cup contender to a bottom feeder, noting the point declines in the seasons he’s been GM in Ottawa. I have a lot of respect for Jason Spezza and Paul McLean for not giving into what people are saying and believing the Sens are bad; they all believed they had a good team this year and they’re now proving that. Good for them. Their third period heroics this season are an icon to the fact that when everyone thought they were down and out, they weren’t quitting.

    Ruutu would be a great rental many teams out there. He’s the kind of guy you like having on your team come playoff time, especially if you’re good on the power play.

  4. I wonder what the sabres would want for the Wild for Derek Roy. Roy could help fill the void left by Koivu.

  5. @Firewilson, I wish Wilson would get fired. I don’t hate him, but if he was on fire and i had a bottle of water I would drink it. As for Burke making a trade I believe he will make a deal. It just won’t be what anyone is wanting or expecting. I would personally love to see Pahlsson out of Clb. he fits a major need for us, especially if we smeek in the back door of the playoffs.

  6. I agree, Ottawa has not been the team we all thought they would be, and while yes they have made some substantial roster moves, including obtaining the services of a reliable goaltender in Anderson.

    However I think the most important move Murray made was to hire Paul McLean. If he coaches the Red Wings model there is accountability, but patience and proper development. As a former NHL player, with years of coaching experience with an NHL club, he has complemeted his staff with Dave Cameron, who because of his recent OHL experience can relate to the younger players, and together that is a great tandem.

    Cory Clouston was in over his head, and when he lost control and respect of the players, there was no turning back. Some coaches will be excellent only at certain levels, and Clouston will probably be a top coach in the OHL or AHL, and their is no shame in that. Despite exceptional success at other levels, not everyone is suited or destined to be a HEad Coach in the NHL.

  7. GM’s know Burke is looking for a top line centre with size and those that are out there are largely unavailable. Whatever trade Burke might decide to make in the coming weeks, won’t likely be of the blockbuster variety either but should have enough impact to improve the team.

  8. Burke made a mistake giving Wilson and extension prior to Christmas.

    Senators had a decent team last year , the problem seemed to be with Clouston as coach ( he rubbed some players the wrong way ) , not to mention Kovalev never produced, Gonchar was hurt and never settled in and the goaltending was not near good enough ( btw good for Brian Elliot in St.L). The fact Binghamton won the Calder cup indicated that Murray had been doing the right things with the rebuild. Unfortunately Fisher and Kelly were moved but these moves paved the way for Smith, Greening, Condra to get more ice and reload on draft picks. I’d still like to see them bring in another playoff experienced defensive d-man this year. A Ryan Smyth rental might look good too. The team has lots of prospects & not all will wear a Sens jersey, some may be sacraficed. Building a good team means having lots of valuable assets that can give the organization options. Every year there seems to be a dark horse team going deeper into the playoffs than expected. If the Sens continue on the same path ( give lots of credit to coach MacLean ) they could do some damage, especially with a middle of the pack finish in the standings.

  9. KC

    Don’t see Ray going to Wild. 4.5 million this year and 5.5 million next is a big bite for Wild to take ( If NHL Numbers web site is correct), plus what Wild have to give up to get him. Never thought Wild were that good earlier this year, and don’t think they are as bad as they have been playing lately. There are other options open where contracts are not as high and end this season for Wild to look at to fill the Koivu hole.
    It would be crazy to mortgage the future to try and get into the playoffs

  10. While Murray did make some questionable band-aid trades after 2007 to try and right the ship, the fact is he came into the organization when it was already declining. The unfortunate issue with Heatley, and yes he did make some deadline moves that seemed alright on paper, but never worked out. But the sheer fact that the absolute best prospect in Bingo at the time of his arrival was Brian Lee should give you an idea how John Muckler left the state of things.

    Again, yes, a few bad trades but you can’t blame him for trying to band-aid a Cup Finalist team ( and you know Eugene Melnyk was directly involved in a few of them…especially FA signing of Kovalev) But considering the young players( Karsslon, Lehner, Stefan , Zibanejad, Noesan, Pumpel, Stone, Smith, Turris, Borowiecki) he’s added in and drafted in the last 5 years?? He’s been incredible and quite frankly doesn’t deserve much, if any blame for their few down-seasons. Blame Muckler and Heatley!
    If Murray ever leaves the GM post I pray he shuffles down the hall to the head of scouting office, as it seems he can’t miss.

  11. I’ll have to admit you were wrong too. Looking down Murray’s trades I’d like you to feel free Lyle to enlighten me to Murray’s hideous trades that had turned this team from a contender to a basement dweller and back again? The Corvo and Eaves trade for Boozo Commodore and Stillman? Mezaros for Kuba, Picard and a 1st? Vermette for LeClaire and Lenher? Most of the fire Murray bullshit has been spewing from the homers in Leafland.

    Muckler hadn’t drafted anyone in the first round that has panned out other than Foligno. O’Brien and Lee are average at best. Fortunately for Ottawa a few of Muckler’s late picks like Greening and Condra have matured and provide depth, finally. Four years of shitty drafting only comparable to Ferguson Jr and the number one reason why the team went from first to worst.

    I get Muckler made the moves to take this team to the cup, however, you can’t empty the fridge and expect the next guy to be able to make dinner. Most hockey fans that cheer for Ottawa get this and the fact that Heatley put Ottawa in a powerless position. As far as I’m concerned Murray since he’s had control in 2007 has done an excellent job and filling the gaps and shipping out the malcontents.

    It doesn’t happen over night as you’ll some find out with your Canadiens.

    Muckler draft picks that have played more than 10 career NHL games.

    1st Patrick Eaves

    3rd Peter Regin

    1st Brain Lee
    4th Cody Bass
    4th Ilya Zubov
    7th Colin Greening

    1st Nick Foligno
    3rd Kaspars Dagavins
    7th Eric Condra

  12. missed this…

    2003 Out of 8 picks
    1st Patrick Eaves
    9th Brian Elliot

    2004 Out of 10 picks
    3rd Peter Regin

    2005 Out of 7 picks
    1st Brain Lee
    4th Cody Bass
    4th Ilya Zubov
    7th Colin Greening

    2006 Out of 7 picks
    1st Nick Foligno
    3rd Kaspars Dagavins
    7th Eric Condra

    20007 – Out of 3 picks
    1st Jim O’Brien has played 6 games

  13. Burke is an ego-centric, publicity junkie, a short-term, old-style thinker who knows that his job security very likely depends on making the playoffs NOW. Since nobody wants his expensive mistakes like Komisarek and Orr, any significant move the Leafs make will have to come at the expense of at least 1 or more young player (Gardiner, Schenn, Kadri, Colborne or Frattin) and/or draft picks that the team should keep. And such a move could work – for a while. But it will be a case of short-term gain for long-term pain. Unfortunatlely for the Buds, Toronto fans, like their GM, have a short attention span, and don’t have the patience to allow their young players to develop. And that’s the reason why the “re-build” goes on, and on, and on.

    As for Bryan Murray, he is being lured by the “dark side” (unexpected immediate succes) and we all know how that movie turns out. The Sens could certainly use another top 6 forward and a stay-at home defenceman (Gleason?) right now. But at what cost? The only question Murray should really be pondering is whether to keep Kuba for the rest of the year or trade him at the deadline. Extending him would be a mistake – too old. The unexpected success of this year’s Ottawa team has largely been fueled by bounce-back years by old vets and solid contributions by several young forwards who are really just place holders for more talented prospects like Zibanejad, Stone, Silfverberg etc. Murray won the Turris deal. He should be satisfied with that and stick to the famous “plan”. Will he do it? Not a chance!

  14. I think Ruutu would be a great pickup for any team looking for a bit of size, edge and offense.

  15. Muckler’s regimes shaky picks coincides with Jarmo Kekalainen’s departure as the head of scouting for the Sens in 2002. He was responsbile for drafting some very good talent in both Ottawa ( Jason Spezza, Antoine Vermette, Anton Volchenkov, Martin Havlat and Marian Hossa. ) and StLouis ( David Backes, Erik Johnson, Roman Polak, David Perron, T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund and Alex Pietrangelo )

  16. @pugnacious.serf JFJ wasn’t a bad drafter when he was a GM, he did alright especially with later round picks (insert Laffs trade all their top draft picks away here); however where JFJ really stank was in trades. He never made one trade or signing that was beneficial in any shape or form for the Leafs.

    @Don MacKay I think you have it wrong. The team and its management have the patience but I think the media and the fans don’t… look at firewilson as an example. We are 3 years in a complete teardown and rebuild and he daily goes on about how Wilson should be fired because the team – a rebuilding young team that in its current form has been around for only a year now. I guess patience and/or common sense are not virtues Leafs “fans” have. How are the other teams that have gone through the “right” way of rebuilding doing?

  17. We need to give Ottawa a lot of respect and, if we could trade coaches, that would be a real bonus. I agree that giving Wilson an extension was a mistake but so was keeping him after last year. I’m not sure that the Leafs will recover at this point – the next four games will tell the tale.

  18. Vorcek has played hard but has been a disappointment as far as scoring. Flyers when he came here expected him to take another step in his development especially goal scoring. He is on pace for what 12-13 goals. Don’t see how that gets him a decent raise.

  19. I think it’s nice to see that Wilson is still coaching the Leafs. Burke has a team philosophy and he’s working closely with Wilson to execute it. Why fire him and bring someone else in and have to go over philosophies and such again? Team US was a goal away from a gold medal against a way better team Canada.

    Booing a coach just gives him even more stress and might cause him to do his job less effectively. Of course, if he won a Cup with Toronto, he’d love to spite the fans with it.

  20. Would the Wild be mortgaging the future in giving up prospects and/or picks to get Bobby Ryan who is only 24? Ryan has a lot of hockey left in him.

  21. I agree most with Brett’s take on the Ottawa situation although the other posts make some very good points as well. When Murray took over the team there were virtually no prospects in the system. Some of it was weak drafting however we should remember that back then Ottawa was consistently finishing among the top five teams every year in the regular season so didn’t get the benefit of top draft picks during that period. The other side of having a talented team is trying to keep them together in a salary cap system. Not easy at the best of times. The biggest error they made as an organization post 2007 was to mistakenly believe that they were just a player or two from returning to the promised land. Some questionable signings were made and an inexperienced coach hired. All this led to the major renovation that started at the trade deadline last season. SInce that time Murray has completely turned things around which makes me wonder if it might have something to do with him finally getting to run the show without the interference of the team’s owner(?). We should never forget that guys like Murray didn’t get into the league and stay there as long as they have because they’re stupid. Expectations were very low this season so Sen’s fans are positively giddy with the way the teams been playing so far this season. Hopefully they’ve learned from their past mistakes and don’t become short sighted again.

  22. I to don’t see how or where the leafs are going to get their big physical scoring forward, apart from some over rated or secondary forwards avaliable I don’t know who in the first line category is avaliable. Just an idea but have the leafs ever tried kulimen at centre? He is big strong scoring forward and I have seen him take face offs when grabovski gets waived so wonder if he’d be worth trying up with Phil???

  23. as far as Ottawa trading prospects I would deem Regin and DaCosta expendable. Although Regin is shutdown for the year a team in sell mode could be willing to trade & wait. DaCosta could thirve if given a chance to play 2nd line somewhere. DaCosta has skill but the addition if Turris means he won’t soon get a sniff played top line & p.p minutes

    Both are centers , both are skill players and neither would likely not be able to make the shift to wing or playing a 3rd line or 4th line role ( there is no way I would insert either of them over Zack Smith ).
    The Sens are set down the middle ( barring injury ) Spezza , Turris , Smith . The 4th line center should be filled by a minimal cost role player which can change annually , Konopka ( UFA ) & Winchester ( UFA ) if he gets healthy
    Point in case Zibanejad is playing wing in Sweden this year , likely at the request of the Sens to better prepare him to step in and play wing on the top3 lines next year.

  24. maybe I used the term ‘prospect ‘ too loosley , I should have used ‘players in the system’

  25. Explain to me how Muckler built that team that went to the SCF? Most of the key players on that team were already there. He brought in Heatley — when Hossa was the better all-around player. Sure Heatley put up the goals.. but Hossa was no slouch either and he can skate. He brought in Corvo — and traded Havlat for Preissing, Hennessey and Barinka — who never played a game in Ottawa. Who else did he bring in for that playoff run? Comrie, Sapreakin (sp?) — yeah they made a big difference.

    I get really pissed when all of these “so-called experts” blame Murray for the demise of the Sens… sure he made a couple of questionable moves… but the foundation for this team was destroyed during the Muckler years. By foundation I mean good young prospects. I mean how can you run a draft — when you employ 2 full time scouts? ANY GM that had that job during the Muckler years would have taken this team on the playoff run… because the good key players were already in place.

    Murray comes in…team is at the cap.. players had to leave.. goes to Binghamton for replacements.. and there were none. Then he is forced to go UFA route and Murray, I agree, did not do a really good job with that. Then Heatley whines like a baby when the going got rough — and wanted out — the year after signing that big contract. No one would have predicted that would happen. But in hindsight now– it’s was the best thing to get rid of that contract as he starts his decline in scoring.

    Unless you are Holland in Detroit.. not GM is perfect. They all make mistakes.. after all they are human beings. You can’t predict the future…

  26. I believe Brian Burke will get a legit top centerman. Look at what he did to get Phaneuf. Neither of us thought that trade would go down, nor did we any of the trade analysts on TSN or Sportsnet even knew these rumblings were going on. Sure Phaneuf isn’t the player he used to be, but for what we gave up, it was worth it, especially seeing Aulie apart of that deal. At the same time, even Sjostrom even played decent here. He was a solid PK guy.

    With expendables, Burke knows he can make a bigger splash than last year, especially when he has draft picks to dispose of, and a lot of prospects or young Leafs roster players. Just a vague idea of what he can do, is:

    To Anaheim: Schenn + Kadri + 1st Round Draft Pick (2012)
    To Toronto: B.Ryan or Getzlaf

    Obviously I’m not saying this trade would go down, but that would be an example of what Burke can work with this year. With that said, there are other players that he can work with:

    – Connolly
    – Gunnarsson
    – Rynnas
    – Aulie
    – Reimer (If need be)
    – Blacker
    – Holzer
    – Boyce
    – Lombardi (Place in a package deal)
    – MacArthur
    – Kulemin
    – Grabovski

    There are options of others around the league that Burke can try and fetch, might be a bit of some difficulties, but still:

    – Parise
    – Stastny
    – Doan
    – Clowe

    There maybe a good many more, but those are a few examples. So to say that Burke’s cupboards are bare to acquire some legit players, is vastly untrue. Come on Burke, do something already, the intensity is getting a little much. We want some help now, especially after these few loses, and that we need to get right back in the thick of it.

  27. Just a question for all Leaf haters: how does the impatience of Leaf fans have any affect on what management does? The team sells out every game. What more is there? Leaf fans can complain and demand all they want. They have no effect on what Burke does, plain and simple. The problem with the Leafs has been the same for the last 15 years. Poor scouting, poor drafting and poor coaching. Ever since Pat Burns left, the team has no identity, no coach to rally around. As a life long Leaf fan, I can admit that they are a laughingstock. Forget trading for a playoff run. The Leafs would get smoked in round 1 by the big bad Bruins. Let’s keep to the plan and draft young players and maybe make a trade or two that doesn’t have to be earth shattering. Stick to the plan. I am no Senators fan by any means but hats off to Murray for the job he has done. And the same goes for Gillis in Vancouver who has done a great job without making too many rash moves.

  28. A. Donnybrook and others. I think you have it wrong. No disrespect meant but Wilson is awful and I believe that only being 3 years into a rebuild (that’s not really a rebuild if there is a win now philosophy) that there is still time to fire Wilson and continue without losing too much ground. If the biggest problem is simply “going over philosophies and such again”. That’s a lot better then the problem being finishing out of the playoffs again with a group that doesn’t have much trade value. This whole TML situation could easily turn into a vicious circle soon. After all but 3 pre Wilson/Burke era players remain what else can be done other then looking at coaching options?

  29. the ‘rebuild’ term is a very interpretive term . The Islanders have been ‘rebuilding’ for 10 years. How much longer will the Oiler faithfull be patient?

    Rebuilding is usually associated with the team losing and the owner / management is tired of spending big bucks, waiting for players to ‘come into their own’ , coaches not leading the team to the promised land, and bottom line …not winning. Building from within ( draft picks ) is not the only way to rebuild, teams can and should also re-build via trade and UFA’s. A rebuild is not always a sure thing if the newly acquired players and draft picks don’t pan out. Rebuild in general terms means a team has been bad for too long and we are going to change as much as possible to start a winning tradition. And if you start winning during the so called rebuild phase it becomes a ‘nowbuild’. Every player, team ,owner and fan likes to win now. As a fan if you ask me if I want my team in the playoffs now or maybe (just maybe ) there is an outside chance they could make it to the cup finals in 5 years, I am picking now cause anything can happen in sports, a dark horse emerges every year in major sport. Tomorrow is too hard to predict, nothing is for sure with a ‘rebuild’.
    Just my opinion I know others think the opposite but the ‘rebuild’ term is starting to get on my nerves.

  30. Wilson has made it past the third round of the playoffs once in 18 years. He has missed the playoffs 10 times in 18 years. Burke has given him 3 years of rope, 2 top NHL scorers, a decent 2nd line that proved they could score 20 goals each last year, and 7 capable defenders that most teams would love to have on their roster and Wilson still can’t get them out of the basement on the pk or goals against. Two more losses and the Leafs could potentially be 7pts out of a playoff spot which means another last ditch effort at the end of the season to get in the playoffs and probably coming up short. If Leaf fans saw potential all this would be a non-issue but the problem is we all see the writing on the wall. I do love Wilson’s “Win and your In” mantra with the goalies, problem is what happens if no one wins. lol

  31. Burke can’t move heaven and earth every year to make these huge blockbusters ie Phaneuf and Lupul trades so to think he can do it once again this year for a top line center will be a long shot. I do love all the added the pressure placed on him since he thought he was smarter then all the other GM’s and didn’t have to bottom dwell for a few years to get some franchise picks in order to rebuild. Go Burkie!!

  32. @ fergy I get what you’re saying but you overlook the biggest difference. Going for it when you have little chance such as what Calgary is doing is one thing. A true “rebuild” is done not so you can (maybe) make playoffs. It’s so you can (maybe) make playoffs for 5+ years in a row and repeatedly challenge for a cup, as opposed to hoping for one magical long shot run. You’re right that a rebuild also means trading and signing UFA’s, it’s really about a change of culture more than anything. Getting rid of stale, bad contracts and taking the time to develop prospects instead of rushing them for a one time chance. Many times try to do this but few get it right. There is in fact a proper way to rebuild.

    @FireWilson I don’t think it’s fair to say Wilson has all this great talent and can’t do anything with it. Shouldn’t the players be held accountable as well? What about saying, Kessell and Lupul can score goals but can’t kill a penalty, or can’t be responsible in their own zone. I’m not saying Wilson isn’t a big part of the problem, but some is just about every single player on the team.

  33. Go Wilson, woo!

    Ah well, that’s what you get in a league with a broken draft system. Teams out of the playoffs for years and years because they choose never to totally suck and stay in the margins.

  34. @Dice
    Didn’t mean to make it sound like the Leafs are loaded with talent I just wanted to express the opinion that they aren’t lacking in skill or defensemen like a lot of other teams. They should be over the hump by now and should be middle of the pack on pk and goals against. To much rope…

  35. Well said fergy! To add to it, just because I said its only 3 yrs into the rebuild in no way am I implying it is done; I’m implying its only been 3yrs, my bad. No one should be reasonably thinking a rebuilt team that took 3 yrs would or should be in the post season. Yes fans of the team would love it and are excited of the possibility but realistically its not a sure thing I think fans/media types that expect that kind of result so soon miss that simple little fact. Young teams besides being exciting are also very unpredictable and generally heartbreak. Hey sometimes you get lucky and/or smart and things go your way other times a teams rebuild can seem to be ongoing for an eternity.

  36. Voracek is due for a raise and more importantly deserves one. Here is my prediction, it is because of that and the Flyers trying to bring back Jagr that Hartnell goes. He is having a career season and his value is at the highest it will ever be. All the JVR talks are just a front for the real deal. Hartnell back to the west coast.

  37. Toronto will probably go get their man and over pay.
    Maybe Nash or Ryan for a handful of picks and prospects.
    Of course they will have to move salary to get a big name player first.
    So look for a salary dump signal first.

  38. @ Boltsnation Do you think Stevie Y did the right thing and let Mike Smith walk? I like the trade to get Harding but would they really want slow footed Kubina? I’ve read alot of articles lately how Stevie Y won’t make any trades to save our season, I understand not trading our future but we have to have some players we can move for some Dmen and a quality goalie. And I wish that they would recall Dustin up, I understand losing sucks but he needs the experience in the NHL.

  39. I used to not care for Wilson, but now I am a fan. I love how he handles the media here. The easiest thing to do is trash the coach, and when players sense its gonna be them or the coach, they are happy to have him walk the plank first. Because he takes none of the players crap, and his GM knows that, he makes them accountable for their own situation. They players get that, and we have seen that mentality take hold since the end of last season. Will there be bumps in the road here and there? Hell yeah. But a good team learns from their mistakes and gets better and better. Do you think Kadris’ game would have improved if they just coddled him? No way. He is mentally and physically tougher because they have taken time and not compromised on what they feel he needs to do to crack the lineup.

    Sorry guys, I remember the days when you could not giveaway a Leafs ticket when they were hosting the Bruins. Yes, the Bruins won the cup last year. The ten seasons prior to that, the Bruins missed the playoffs 4 times. And 4 times they never made it past the first round.And twice they lost in the second round. A better record than the Leafs, no doubt, but compare rosters and you will see why. Every team takes time to get close to the pinnacle, and some have better building blocks.

    Four years ago Claude Julien walks into the Bruins dressing room for the first time, looks around and here are some of the names in the stalls: Thomas, Chara, Lucic, Savard, Krejci, Thornton and Kessel.

    Did the Leafs ( or many other teams) have anything close to that to work with?

    Having new players is not always the solution, they have to be the right players. It has taken Burke up till now to clean out and stock up, and he is moving in the right direction. When the Leafs get to be a true contending team I want them to be that for a while, not just a flash in the pan or one hit wonder.The team is buying into Wilson’s coaching and oddly enough when the do what he asks them to do, they win. He can do everything except go out and play for these guys. They have the responsibility to execute.

    Did St. Louis fire their Coach because he was a bad coach? No, he lost his authority with them. Hitchcock comes in and says, listen up, this is what we are doing and I am the boss.Those who do not will find themselves departing, and this is what has been happening with Toronto also. Goodbye Muskoka five, goodbye Toskala. Toronto will get there, and we are getting closer now than we have ever been in years.Some times its the Coach. But in Toronto, in my opinion, it is not.

  40. Lots of sens love out there. A great deal of credit does to the coaching. diddo to spezza and michalek. but is anyone out there thinking that that defence is a little weak? karlsson and gonchar are essentially forwards on the blue line; kuba is dead weight; phillips is getting old; cowen looks to have a lot of tools with zero hockey iq. sounds harsh but i don’t see how that blue line won’t eventually sink the team.

  41. would love to see a big trade. nash, ryan, getz…. pretty crazy to see those guys change teams, especially at this point in their careers. but hey, lots of morons are in charge of teams