Saturday, 26 January 2013

Is This The Year For Nazem Kadri?

Nazem Kadri celebrates scoring his third
goal of the 2013 season
When the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Nazem Kadri seventh overall in the 2009 entry draft, they had high hopes for the former London Knight forward who showcased an amazing set of hands alongside great playmaking abilities. But as the years passed in Toronto, Nazem Kadri hasn't been able to find a regular spot in the line-up, despite multiple opportunities being called up over the last three seasons.

So this past off-season Kadri worked hard so that when the season came around he could prove that he deserved a regular spot on the roster. But things didn't quite work out when the NHL and NHLPA couldn't come to a collective bargaining agreement and the NHL went into a lockout. So Kadri started the season for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League as he awaited the lockout to end. It wasn't the start to the new season that he was looking for, but what made matters worse was when his coach in the Marlies, Dallas Eakins, questioned his play and even benched him at one point during the AHL season.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Leafs Collapse After Strong First Period Against Islanders

Leafs celebrate after jumping to an early lead, before allowing
five unanswered goals
Another late surge by the Toronto Maple Leafs isn't nearly enough to get back into a game where they gave up five unanswered goals after jumping to an early 3-1 lead. The Leafs would ultimately lose the game by a score of 7-4. A reoccurring theme for the Maple Leafs over the last several seasons is the inability to play a 60 minute game. Tonight was a display of just that. The Leafs were all over New York in the first period, but fell asleep for the next 35 minutes. In their defense, the Leafs did play last night and so fatigue is definitely an issue, but it's not an excuse.

In a season with only 48 games, every game is crucial, more-so than the average season. The teams that manage to hold early leads are the teams that will thrive and the teams that can't will be on the outside looking in, as the Leafs have been since the previous NHL lockout in 2004. At times Toronto has shown some promise early in this season, but tonight's game exposed the majority of the hurtles that the Leafs will have to overcome this season.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Brian Burke Fired, Dave Nonis Takes Over

The Toronto Maple Leafs have relieved Brian Burke of his job and replaced him with his Dave Nonis, one of Toronto's assistant General Managers. The news came as a shock today when the decision was made, and was followed up by a press conference from Toronto at 1:45pm this afternoon. Burke has been appointed a new role for the Maple Leafs as a senior advisor.

Burke, who was the GM for the Leafs for the last four years, had a losing record in his tenure with Toronto. He just recently signed Randy Carlyle to take over as the coach at the tail end of last season. Considering the fact that the NHL and the NHLPA have finally come to a deal after four months of lockout, the timing of this news is rather odd. Why not fire Brian Burke in the summer? Or why not fire him in the dead months during the lockout? The timing doesn't seem right for a change to just happen. What made this decision happened just a few days prior to training camp for the 48-game shortened NHL season.