Nazem Kadri stood at his stall at the Air Canada Centre Monday morning and said all the right things. Talked about how he slept in Sunday morning and was late for practice and took the blame and the consequences like a professional. The cynics in the crowd might say it’s the first time a player on the Toronto Maple Leafs has actually shown up in the last couple of months.
“I’ve apologized to the coaching staff…it was my fault and I screwed up and I’m willing to take whatever is given to me,” Kadri said after it was announced he would be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game against the New York Islanders. “It was uncharacteristic of me and it will never happen again.” Read more
Toronto Maple Leafs’ captain Dion Phaneuf has been known to have a bit of a mean streak and it came out on Saturday night when he caught St. Louis Blues’ forward T.J. Oshie with one of the best hits of the season. Oshie remained in the game and there was no call on the hit.
Only three games into his career as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, hard-luck left winger David Clarkson was sidelined 4-to-6 weeks – in other words, more than likely the rest of the regular season – with a torn oblique muscle.
Acquired Feb. 26 from Toronto for severely injured winger Nathan Horton, the 30-year-old Clarkson suffered the injury during his debut game with Columbus two days later and had been playing through the injury until he couldn’t continue during the Jackets’ 5-3 loss to the Capitals Tuesday. Read more
The NHL trade deadline day came and went with none of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ big stars getting dealt. Despite anticipation by some pundits suggesting Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak or Joffrey Lupul would be traded, the four will finish this season with the Leafs.
It was for lack of trying on GM Dave Nonis’ part. In the hours leading up to the 3 PM ET deadline, there were reports Nonis was in talks with Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding a possible deal for the 29-year-old Phaneuf.
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos claims one reason the deal fell through was the Leafs sought highly-touted Wings prospect forward Anthony Mantha as part of the return. Holland repeatedly made it clear throughout this season none of his top prospects or good young roster players were available. It’s not surprising he balked at Nonis’ request for Mantha. Read more
It feels like just about every citizen of, landed immigrant to, and legislative and judicial branch of Leafs Nation is angry these days. Some of Toronto’s players are incensed with the media; some Leafs fans are fed up with decades of frustration, poor decisions by management and ownership, and lack of playoff appearances; even something as innocuous as a post-victory acknowledgment to fans at the Air Canada Centre was a source of controversy, at least until the franchise’s astonishing collapse made clear what a molehill of an issue that really was.
However, in the midst of the maelstrom stands a pillar of patience and calm. Its name is Brendan Shanahan, Toronto’s president for coming up on 11 months now, and Leafs fans ought to be thankful for it. Shanahan doesn’t have the GM experience of, say, a Ray Shero and still must prove his vision over the long term. But his particular employment history – specifically, running the NHL’s department of player safety and serving as chief disciplinarian – has made him uniquely qualified to steer hockey’s most hyper-analyzed franchise through the white noise, hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing that seem to increase every week. Read more
By nature, Phil Kessel has traditionally been a bit of an introvert when it comes to the media. The talented Toronto Maple Leafs star has often displayed a stereotypical Midwest humbleness in front of the cameras and that’s cool: Not every hockey player can be as polished and poised as David Backes or Steven Stamkos.
But Kessel has had enough apparently, launching into a diatribe about the Toronto media and how reporters and pundits have treated his captain, Dion Phaneuf. It was quite the scene.
Another NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and whenever it passes, there’s the urge to judge which teams were winners and which ones were at the other end of the competitive spectrum. Of course, any hockey fan paying close attention from year-to-year understands that 99 percent of all trades have to be judged over the long-term to be judged fairly. So bear that in mind as we do our best to break down the teams that came away from this season’s deadline – including the days leading up to it, when many of the biggest deals took place – looking great, and which ones came away looking questionable or worse.