Toronto Maple Leafs

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Phil Kessel and the Center Carousel

Hot Start

                Phil ‘The Thrill’ Kessel is off to the best start of his career, leading the league in points (16) and tied for the league lead in goals (9) through 9 games.

                Leaf nation has always known that Kessel can put up big points though; more impressive is Kessel’s play at both ends of the rink. Brian Burke has referred to Kessel as a 200ft player, praising him on his back-checking and fore-checking.

             &nb...

One-on-One With Ryan Strome

Ryan Strome is an 18-year old out of Mississauga, Ontario that many Islanders fans were unfamiliar with until the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The 6'1, 183 pound center was selected by the New York Islanders with the fifth overall pick, igniting a fan base to a new level of excitement on draft day.

That's because Strome is a gifted center with great vision and superb play-making ability. He also has some of the craziest hands, as evident by his goal that he scored on Islanders goalie prospect, Anders Nilsson in the rookie scrimmage over the summer.

Currently playing for the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL, Strome has five goals and four assists in only seven games played since be...

Is Gustavsson good enough?

Jonas Gustavsson won his first game of the season---going back to last season he hadn't won since Jan.6---and looked sharp in the victory over the New York Rangers.

The decision to enter the season with James Reimer and Gustavsson between the pipes was a risky one by the Toronto Maple Leafs' management. Reimer and Gustavsson, as of now, have a combined 112 games of experience at the NHL level. But the Leafs also entered the season as the NHL's youngest club with an average age of 26.07, so perhaps its goal...

Leafs Spoil Garden Party

 

 

In the preview for tonight's Leafs Rangers game I said that this game was a statement game for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Coming off of a loss in Philadelphia, and playing without their number one goalie (James Reimer), the Leafs survived the first period before dominating their original six rivals for a 4-2 victory. The Rangers outshot Toronto 16-10 in the first period taking a 1-0 lead into the intermission on a goal by Dan Girardi. The Rangers could have been ahead by more, but two goals were justly waived off due to Ryan Callahan interfering with Jonas Gustavsson. 

A weak Matthew Lombardi wrister found a way through Henrik Lundqvist and the Leafs...

Game #9 Preview - Rangers vs Leafs

 

In perhaps their first statement game of the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs (5-2-1) will face off against the New York Rangers (3-2-2). Following their opening trip to Europe and western Canada swing, tonight’s game will be the long delayed home opener for the Rangers. New York has struggled so far this season, and may be facing the Leafs at the best time. New York has gone 6-0-2 and outscored the Leafs 32-11, Ranger fans are hoping this dominance continues. With the looming absence of Marc Staal, the Rangers have struggled defensively to begin this season. Kurt Sauer will return to the Rangers lineup tonight.  Following a loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on...

Is Gunnarsson the odd man out?

The Toronto Maple Leafs' 5-2-1 start to the National Hockey League 2011-12 regular season has been somewhat deceptive.

That's not to say the Leafs, who are the youngest team in the NHL, have not deserved its 11 points in the standings, but the wins have accumulated despite the team's sluggish opening periods and mediocre team defense.

That said, the youthful Leafs have displayed plenty of vigour which has allowed them to escape with points in the standings---and you can't ask for more from a young team, really.

Nonetheless, it's difficult to gauge whether the Leafs are for real or on the verge of struggling with con...

Hartnell and Jagr Power Flyers to 4-2 Win

With all the attention focused to the status of Chris Pronger, lost on many last night was the solid effort of the Flyers following two consecutive losses. Matt Brigidi takes a look at the positive parts of Monday night's win.

Scary Night for Flyers Despite Win

Despite snapping a two-game losing streak, all the focus in Philadelphia was on the future of Captain Chris Pronger.

Flyers Double Up Leafs 4-2

 

 

Considering most people (myself included) expected the Leafs to be embarrassed tonight at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers, the Leafs surprised by managing to be in the game for most of the night. Both Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell paced the Flyers tonight with two goals apiece (Jagr's goals were his first since 2008). Jonas Gustavsson got the start for the Leafs on his 27th birthday and definitely turned some heads by stopping 26 of 30 shots. Gustavsson made some big saves, and was swarmed at times tonight. While it has already been said that The Monster made a statement, he still surrendered four goals which are too many if the Leafs are to win when h...

Game #8 Preview - Flyers vs Leafs

Bright lights and loud screaming are considered normal for birthdays. However tonight Jonas Gustavsson will hope that his 27th birthday will be void of the flashing red goal light behind him and that the Wells Fargo Centre does its library impression. With James Reimer sidelined, the Leafs (5-1-1) will turn to their maligned backup tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers (4-2-1). Gustavsson is coming off a 5-4 OT victory against the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night, a game in which he surrendered the first shot he faced and three goals in total during his two periods of work. The Monster has surrendered 9 goals in five periods of hockey this season, and Leafs fans are hoping tonight'...