How responsible are players for their actions after head trauma?

Matt Larkin
kadri mad

The hit from Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano was crisp and clean. The ensuing throat slash from the victim, Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri, was a bit vulgar, enough to warrant a review from the NHL’s hockey operations department, but relatively harmless.

Quite concerning, however, were Kadri’s post-game comments about the incident.

“I think I said ‘(You’re) done,’ ” Kadri told reporters. “But, like I said, the whole situation was a bit fuzzy.”

Kadri added the incident was “something I don’t really remember doing. I was kind of in and out after the hit.”

We have ourselves a problem.

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Rumor Roundup: How Byfgulien deal, Phaneuf trade impact NHL trade market

Lyle Richardson
Dustin Byfuglien.

The ripples from the Toronto Maple Leafs shipping defenseman Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators, and the Winnipeg Jets re-signing blueliner Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year deal will be felt upon the NHL trade and free-agent markets.

TSN’s Frank Seravalli believes the Leafs, by shipping out Phaneuf’s long-term deal with its $7-million annual salary cap hit, are clearing cap room to pursue Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos via free agency. While the contracts of new Leafs wingers Milan Michalek, Colin Greening and defenseman Jared Cowen (combined salary-cap hit of $9.75 million) stretch into next season, Seravalli wouldn’t be surprised if none of them start next season in Toronto.

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Maple Leafs’ Kadri facing possible discipline for throat-slash gesture to Flames’ Giordano

Jared Clinton
Nazem Kadri (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

Nazem Kadri may have found himself in hot water by making a throat-slash gesture at Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano after a hit that knocked the Toronto Maple Leafs pivot flat on his back.

Kadri was carrying the puck into the Flames’ zone late in the first period and put his head down while protecting it. Giordano, seeing a chance to deliver a check to Kadri, laid into him with his shoulder and dropped Kadri to the ice. Kadri skated to the bench immediately following the hit and showed his frustration by slamming the bench door, yelling at the officials about what he believed to be a dirty hit and aiming a threat at Giordano: Read more

Phaneuf trade shows exactly why the Leafs went out and got Lamoriello

Ken Campbell
New teammates Chris Neil (left) and Dion Phaneuf (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Back on July 23 when the Toronto Maple Leafs announced they’d hired Lou Lamoriello to be their GM, it was fair to wonder whether or not they had made the right move. In a way, it actually seemed a little counterintuitive at the time. After all, Lamoriello was approaching his 74th birthday and had presided over a New Jersey Devils franchise that was in an on-ice decline. It was at least reasonable to debate whether he’d lost his touch or had the chops to oversee a painful rebuild.

Question answered, accompanied by a conga line of exclamation marks. The Maple Leafs, who have gotten very adept at trading untradeable players and contracts, did it again, moving a veteran, middling defenseman with five years and $35 million remaining on his deal in Dion Phaneuf in their division to the Ottawa Senators and getting back a young defenseman with a ton to prove in Jared Cowen, a second-round pick in 2017 and a 6-foot-3, 215 pound prospect who has been a pleasant surprise wherever he had played in Tobias Lindberg. Milan Michalek, who has one year left on his deal at $4 million, will be long gone by the time the Maple Leafs become a competitive team. Colin Greening has spent most of this season in the minors and carries a cap hit of $2.65 million, but there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to play on this NHL team as a bottom-six player until his contract runs out after next season.

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Leafs trade Dion Phaneuf to Senators in nine-player blockbuster. Let’s sort through it

Matt Larkin
Dion Phaneuf (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

Whoa. Whoa. A nine-player trade? Between two teams historically characterized as bitter divisional and geographical rivals? Involving one of the team’s captains? Let’s breathe and try to sort through the blockbuster between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators.

Credit to Bob McKenzie for being first on the story. The official trade:

Toronto Maple Leafs receive…

Jared Cowen, D
Milan Michalek, LW
Colin Greening, LW
Tobias Lindberg, RW
2017 second-round pick

Ottawa Senators receive…

Dion Phaneuf, D
Matt Frattin, RW
Casey Bailey, C/RW
Ryan Rupert, C
Cody Donaghey, D

Before we dive into the specifics of each piece, let’s get to the point and examine what this trade is really about.

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Maple Leafs’ Grabner’s gift allows former billet, a Broncos fan, to witness Denver win Super Bowl

Jared Clinton
Michael Grabner (Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Thanks to Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Grabner, the Denver Broncos had one extra fan in the stands to watch them win Super Bowl 50 Sunday night. It wasn’t Grabner himself, though.

Grabner, like many kids playing major junior, needed a billet family to stay with during his time with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs. The Austrian native ended up spending his years in Spokane with the McCann family, and it was there he met Rachel McCann, a teacher and diehard Broncos fan. According to The Spokesman-Review, Grabner lived with the McCann’s during his WHL stay until 2007, when he left Spokane and headed to Manitoba to play for the AHL’s Moose.

It turns out McCann is a huge Broncos fan even though she’s right in the middle of Seahawks fan territory. Grabner knew of McCann’s fandom, in large part because he liked to tease her about the Broncos whenever they were playing. But when the Broncos made the Super Bowl, Grabner had an idea of how to repay McCann for all she had done for him. Read more

Darryl Sittler’s 10-point game, 40 years later: an oral history

Darryl Sittler
Darryl Sittler. (Photo by Paul Cookson/Ad Army Group)

WITH MATT LARKIN

Staring across a table at Hall of Famer and Toronto Maple Leafs legend Darryl Sittler, 65, you’d never guess he accomplished his most famous feat four decades ago. His posture is perfect. He has the firm handshake of man who still works out at his local gym at least three times a week. He oozes a quiet, classy confidence. He could strut around like he owns the place but chooses modesty instead.

Sittler sits in the THN office, flipping through a volume from a February 1976 edition, like it’s a pulpy novel he just can’t put down. After a quick dig through the archives, we’ve unearthed the newsprint cover detailing his signature NHL accomplishment.

It’s a record so astounding it feels pulled from a video game or a movie. But it’s all too real, and it’s about to turn 40 years old. Everything clicked for Sittler Feb. 7, 1976 when his Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Boston Bruins. The points kept pouring in. Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard’s single-game record of eight points stood for 32 years and 9,453 NHL games before Sittler smashed it with a 10 spot. His mark is still going strong. This Feb. 7, 40 years and 38,995 NHL games will have passed since Sittler made history.

Sittler joined us to review footage of all 10 points and reminisce about the events before, during and after that magical game. This is his definitive oral history.

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Senators’ Mark Stone takes skate to the face, somehow escapes serious injury

Jared Clinton
Mark Stone (via Streamable)

Senators winger Mark Stone doesn’t head to the penalty box often, and he might be even more wary of committing stick infractions after a trip on Joffrey Lupul nearly resulted in Stone’s face being sliced open by Lupul’s skate.

With three minutes remaining in the first period, Lupul was battling with Stone for the puck in the neutral zone when Stone got his stick into Lupul’s skate and hauled the Maple Leafs winger to the ice. The trip of Lupul resulted in his upper body falling forward and feet kicking up into the air, with his left skate coming up and catching Stone in the face.

Stone immediately clutched his face and headed for the dressing room as referees on ice whistled the play dead because Stone had been tagged for tripping: Read more