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Posted by Yardbarker: Toronto Maple Leafs on September 14, 2014 in Uncategorized with No Comments

As far as first impressions go William Nylander performed about as well as one could expect. The Maple Leafs top prospect dazzled in his first game action in blue and white, speedy and dangerous throughout a 4-2 opening night victory from the club's annual rookie tournament in London. Nylander, picked eighth overall at the 2014 draft, finished with one assist, responsible for a handful of quality scoring opportunities opposite an opposing pool of prospects from the Chicago Blackhawks organization. "He's got some things that you can't teach," said Marlies coach Gord Dineen, overseeing the rookie operation from the home of the OHL's London Knights. "It seems likes he's one of those guys when he gets the puck his speed gets even more enhanced. And he's not one-dimensional. He's not trying to beat guys one-on-one; he can spread the puck around and jump into holes. That's a good start for him." The 18-year-old was noticeable almos...

Posted by Yardbarker: Toronto Maple Leafs on September 13, 2014 in Uncategorized with No Comments

You pose the question casually to the Maple Leafs’ veteran players, because you don’t want to prejudice the answer. “Of all the changes in the off-season — the trades, the signings, the draft, the front office, the assistant coaches — what new addition excites you the most?” While the potential answers are many, one name keeps coming up: William Nylander. “He’s a pretty impressive talent,” says forward James van Riemsdyk, among the Leafs who have been skating with members of the AHL Marlies and some prospects at the MasterCard Centre for about a week. “He’s got a lot of skill, a lot of ability.” “He’s a pretty skilled kid,” adds captain Dion Phaneuf. “I’d like to see what he does in camp.” Nylander, he of the high skill and the good hair, does his best to take it all in stride. “It’s exciting to hear that from guys who played a long time in the NHL,” said Nylander. “It’s a special feeling you get when you hear that.” Still, even though that’s the standa

Posted by Yardbarker: Toronto Maple Leafs on September 12, 2014 in Uncategorized with No Comments

Joffrey Lupul of the Toronto Maple Leafs hopes to have a better season. In other words, hopes to stay injured free.#482019451 / gettyimages.comLupul is probably one of the unluckiest players when it comes to injuries. Most people would say he is 'injury prone.' Injury prone is getting injured in the same place by the same things. What Lupul has is he gets into too many 'random accidents.'Lupul's injury history to date;Prior to 2007 he has had several concussions.2007: He breaks his wrist during training camp with the Philadelphia Flyers.2008: Accidentally hit by his own teammate and gets a concussion and bruised spine. Later in the season he injured his ankle. Combined he missed 26 games.2009: Missed 3 games for abdominal surgery, then missed an entire season after injuring his back and getting an infection.2011: Separated his shoulder after getting hit by Bruins forward David Krecji.2012: Breaks his arm, returns, gets sandwiched by 2 Flyers players and ends up ...

Posted by Yahoo! Sports - NHL - Toronto Maple Leafs News on September 12, 2014 in nhl with No Comments

Vancouver hockey fans are good, kind, decent people. They’re not all tin-foil hat wearing weirdos like one of their most prominent columnists, who once again served up his particular brand of whimsy on the NHL this week: CONSPIRACY!  Tony Gallagher of The Province, who previously accused the NHL of fixing a series against the Vancouver Canucks for the Chicago Blackhawks, brings a smoldering hot take on Friday in which he accuses Rogers of manipulating the NHL schedule to help the team they own and hurt the Canucks. It is, without much debate, one of the largest dung piles of faux outrage ever identified by modern science. You see, the Toronto Maple Leafs are visiting the Canucks on Saturday, March 14, 2015. (Obviously Tony’s getting ahead of the curve on this one.) The game starts at 4 p.m. local time and 7 p.m. back in Toronto, which is what happens when it’s Saturday night and it’s Canada and the Leafs are playing. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: It's time to join a league today! ] As Gallagher notes, this start time has been in place basically forever. The difference for Gallagher is that those games were broadcast by “an independent party to the game” in CBC, while this one will be on Sportsnet, which has a multi-billion-dollar 12-year contract with the NHL. From Gallagher: But now Rogers owns those rights, and for those who may not have noticed, Rogers is also part-owner of the Leafs. If the game were allowed to go ahead at 4 p.m., which always takes the home-team Canucks out of their usual routine and is certainly an advantage for the visiting team, it would mean that the owners of the Leafs were able to demand that Vancouver change the start time to the advantage of their team. It gives them an unfair competitive advantage. Full stop: The Leafs didn't ask the Canucks to change the start time. That IS the start time. As it's been since 2008, as we'll get to in a moment. This is a clear conflict of interest which the league should not let stand. As we said, it’s a small but important point. Further, the same situation will exist with respect to the Oilers and the Flames, and to a slightly lesser degree, perhaps even the Jets, the Leafs gaining a competitive advantage by virtue of their corporate ownership.   Once more, with feeling: The outrage is that the same thing that’s happened for at least the last six years is happening again. And that the same thing that's happened since the dawn of national sports television coverage -- popular teams getting a friendly schedule, west coast teams getting boned -- is happening again, too.  A look at the last five visits for the Leafs to Vancouver: Nov. 2, 2013: Vancouver 4, Toronto 0 (4 p.m.) Feb. 18, 2012: Vancouver 6, Toronto 2 (4 p.m.) Dec. 18, 2010: Vancouver 4, Toronto 1 (4 p.m.) Oct. 24, 2009: Vancouver 3, Toronto 1 (4 p.m.) Nov. 15, 2008: Vancouver 4, Toronto 2, (4 p.m.) As you can see, the start time has given the Leafs an incredible competitive advantage, with an average margin of defeat of just three goals per game. (Quite hilariously, the last time the Canucks played the Leafs at 7 p.m. local time on Jan. 2006, they margin of victory was only two goals.) Gallagher addresses this, as only Gallagher can: Lately, because the Canucks have been considerably better than the Leafs over the last few years, the Canucks have overcome this traditional start time and won even though they haven’t played particularly well other than in last year’s game. But imagine losing a playoff spot because you drop a home tilt to the Leafs when your team was playing when they are usually just waking up from their afternoon nap. At this point we’d like to note that this devastating variation in the Canucks’ schedule comes in the third game of a five-game homestand for Vancouver, which will have last played on Thursday night at 7 p.m. PT against the Kings. This would seem like a less egregious interruption than what happens on Sunday, Nov. 30, when the Canucks face the Detroit Red Wings at 11 a.m. PT in Detroit, less than 48 hours after facing the Blue Jackets in Columbus at 4 p.m. PT on Thursday. So that’s a game starting at an odd early time, after traveling from another city, less than 48 hours later.  But hey, save that stuff for another column about scheduling inequities! This one’s dedicated to shaking one’s ink-drenched fist at Rogers and the NHL!  Our favorite part: So here you have a company which is your friend on one stage, dictating to you on a national stage that you have to put your team at a competitive disadvantage when you play the team which we own. 1. Did this guy ever hear of Comcast? Like, ever? Surely the Canucks and the league have to see the impropriety here even though it’s a small point. A SMALL POINT THAT JUST EARNED A 760 WORD COLUMN IN SEPTEMBER!?! s/t Kukla [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: It's time to join a league today! ]

Posted by Yahoo! Sports - NHL - Toronto Maple Leafs News on September 12, 2014 in nhl with No Comments

Corey Abbott gives his thoughts on a recent mock draft he took part with some fellow experts.

Posted by Yardbarker: Toronto Maple Leafs on September 11, 2014 in Uncategorized with No Comments

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province, When the Toronto Maple Leafs make their way out West in March and play the Vancouver Canucks, the game is scheduled for 4 p.m. locally as usual, but that should change. And for very good reason. While the following is a small, perhaps even niggling thing to some degree, it’s important. Over the past few years, that game has always been at that time, but now things are different. Before this season, those Saturday television rights were owned by CBC, and as an independent party to the game and contractor with the league, the network was given the right to ask Vancouver to move the game from the traditional 7 p.m. start on a Saturday night to 4 p.m. to increase the audience in the East. Why the Canucks ever agreed to it in the first place is a mystery, but it’s almost certainly been put into in the contract at some point. But now Rogers owns those rights, and for those who may not have noticed, Rogers is also part-own...

Posted by Yahoo! Sports - NHL - Toronto Maple Leafs News on September 11, 2014 in nhl with No Comments

HBO will not be broadcasting its ''24/7'' show leading to this season's Winter Classic. The network said in an email to The Canadian Press on Thursday ''there was never an expectation'' that HBO would do such a show leading to the Winter Classic every year. The NHL said it will announce plans Sept. 23 for its new Winter Classic show partner. The next Winter Classic will feature the Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks at Nationals Park in Washington on Jan. 1.

Posted by Yahoo! Sports - NHL - Toronto Maple Leafs News on September 11, 2014 in nhl with No Comments

HBO said on Thursday that it won’t produce “24/7: The Road To The NHL Winter Classic” for the 2015 outdoor game featuring the Washington Capitals and the Chicago Blackhawks.  This ends a three-season partnership between the League and the cable network, which produced the four-episode series that brought viewers deeper inside their teams and players’ lives than anything previously attempted by the NHL. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: It's time to join a league today! ] “Everybody at HBO enjoyed working with the NHL and its teams on ‘24/7’ the past four years. It was an exciting endeavor and we’re very proud of the never-before-seen presentation of the world of hockey that ‘24/7’ was able to capture,” said Ray Stallone, a spokesman for HBO. “There was never an expectation that HBO would chronicle the lead-up to the Winter Classic every year. So we will not be involved with the NHL this season. We wish the NHL the very best and the door will always remain open.” There are few television innovations the NHL has been involved with that rival the game-changing impact of “24/7.” It was the first time the character of the players, the intensity of the game and the orchestral vulgarity of the sport were married in the same program. The first edition in 2011 featured the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, catapulting then-Caps coach Bruce Bourdreau to stardom with his profanity-laced tirades (and BBQ-sauce covered face). The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers followed in 2012, showcasing the unique brand of whimsy from goaltender and part-time cosmonaut Ilya Bryzgalov. The third edition of the show in 2014, featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, was considered a drop in quality – although that probably had more to do with the subjects involved than cracks in the format. The Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks were chosen for the 2015 Winter Classic, and immediately speculation about the next “24/7” began. Patrick Kane on pay cable? A return engagement for the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin? Interest was growing. A report by Sports Business Journal in July quoted HBO Sports President Ken Hershman as saying, "We're having a series of meetings with the NHL discussing how we move forward on that project. … Hopefully, we'll have something to announce shortly." The announcement, alas, was that the NHL’s run on “HBO 24/7” would not continue this season. But will the reality show lead up to the Winter Classic appear elsewhere? The relationship between HBO and the NHL took a turn in 2011 when Ross Greenburg, the president of HBO Sports and creator of the “24/7” series, left the network to develop shows at his own production company. The NHL quickly partnered with him to create programming on NHL Network and on NBC Sports Network in the form of “NHL Revealed” , a show in the tradition of “24/7” that centered around the Sochi Olympics. The idea that the NHL would have a four-episode “24/7” of their own under the “NHL Revealed” banner isn’t an outlandish one. The question becomes how far they’d be willing to push the boundaries, considering how the appeal of “24/7” was in seeing and hearing the raw, seemingly uncensored coverage of the players on and off the ice. Would an “NHL Revealed” with bleeped out profanities have the same impact? Or does it come down what the cameras capture while filming? All we know is: Liev Schreiber for narrator or we riot … [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: It's time to join a league today! ]

Posted by Yardbarker: Toronto Maple Leafs on September 11, 2014 in Uncategorized with No Comments

from Katie Strang of ESPN, "I think they have certainly reshaped their team in a huge way," Healy told in a recent phone conversation. "They've added some players, particularly in the bottom-six position, to give them more balance and more depth. The players they picked up are Western Conference players. They've reshaped their focus." Healy thinks they've also bolstered their defense -- the Leafs acquired Roman Polak via trade and added Stephane Robidas in free agency -- a necessity given the fact they spent too much time in their own end "whether that was systems [related] or execution." Healy thinks they have more mobile, puck-moving players who should help in terms of lessening the load on captain Dion Phaneuf and star forward Phil Kessel, who played monster minutes throughout the season only to see their productivity decline when they needed it most. That drop-off wasn't exclusive to those two, considering t...

Posted by Yahoo! Sports - NHL - Toronto Maple Leafs News on September 10, 2014 in nhl with No Comments

While her tournament didn’t end with the desired result, Amanda Kessel became a star with the U.S. women’s hockey team in the Sochi Games – landing on the radar screen of sports fans around the nation and finally beginning to emerge from her the shadow of her brother, Toronto Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel. But this season, her rising star has been lassoed back to earth. The University of Minnesota announced on Wednesday that Kessel will miss the 2014-15 season because of ”lingering concussion symptoms due to injuries sustained as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team.” "I've had an unforgettable experience at the University of Minnesota thus far, so I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to return to the team this year," Kessel said in a statment. "It’s obviously a difficult decision and one that I’ve taken time to come to terms with. As someone who has played through a lot of injuries, it wasn’t until suffering a concussion that I fully understood the importance of being 100% healthy when I’m on the ice. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case right now. "My number one priority is my health, and I hope that I’ll be able to return to the ice in the future. I want to thank my coaches, teammates and everyone at the University for their support." There was great anticipation for her return to Minnesota lineup for the 2014-15 season. She missed last season while training with the U.S. team; she was entering her senior season with 231 points in 114 NCAA games, becoming just the fourth player in NCAA history to crack 100 points with a mindboggling 101 points in 37 games in 2012-13. The decision comes on the advice of her doctors, who wanted her to dedicate the season to her recovery. Said coach Brad Frost: "We obviously wish we could have Amanda with us this year, but her health is everyone’s top priority. She has come to the difficult conclusion to focus solely on her treatment at this time. We understand and support her decision and hope she fully recovers. She will always have a place in our locker room, and we will continue to support her." She had 3 goals and 3 assists for the U.S. in Sochi, although was shut down in their gold medal loss against Canada. There was no talk of concussion symptoms during the games, but Kessel was less than 100 percent in the lead up to the Olympics, missing a few of the team's exhibition games. The injury is a loss to the Gophers but also a loss for women's hockey. The "Olympic Bump" might not be a tangible thing for the NHL, but if the Gophers were playing in the Women's Frozen Four, hockey fans that otherwise might not watch the tournament could have made time to see Kessel, who is without question a phenom. But her future is too important, and Kessel's clearly learned not to test her health with a full NCAA season.

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