The Weekend Warrior

By Randy Nicholson
Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.

Injury update: With Training Camp now rapidly approaching, it seems like a good time to check in at the Infirmary in order to see how the players injured last season are progressing … Dmitri Khristich has undergone a series of acupuncture treatments on an injured groin muscle that hampered his play throughout much of 1999 /2000 … he reports the situation to be much improved and is participating fully in workouts with several other Russian players at a suburban Toronto arena … Igor Korolev required additional surgery on a tendon in the index finger injured back in the spring of 1999 … you’ll recall that Korolev experienced a great deal of difficulty in gripping a stick last season and his latest operation was designed to help alleviate this situation … although Igor reports much better flexibility in the damaged digit, he will still require another similar procedure next summer … Yanic Perreault has resumed skating at home near Sherbrooke, Quebec following major knee surgery and fully expects to be back in the line-up when the games begin to count in October … super-kid Nik Antropov has been working out in Toronto all summer long under the guidance of Leafs’ Physical Therapist Chris Broadhurst and is recovering nicely … expect big Nik to rejoin the Maple Leafs and resume his trip to stardom at some point during the month of November …

Manson joins Maple Leafs: After suggesting for several weeks that their interest was decidedly lukewarm, the Maple Leafs quietly announced the signing of veteran defender Dave Manson on the 16th … the deal is reportedly for 2 seasons with salaries of $850,000 for the upcoming season and $900,000 for 2001 / 2002 … the 33 year-old blueliner split last season between Chicago and Dallas and played strongly for the Stars down the stretch and throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs … Manson, regarded as a player who straddled (and quite often crossed) the line between tough and dirty play when he was younger, can still be somewhat volatile as evidenced by 3 separate league suspensions imposed last year … twice an all-star earlier in his career, he has now settled into the role of physical defender / enforcer and handles both jobs rather effectively …

Healy’s deal gets done: The Leafs finally agreed to terms with back-up netminder Glenn Healy this week … Glenn’s new contract will cover two seasons with all other terms remaining undisclosed … with roughly 3 weeks left until camp opens in Kitchener, only Alexander Karpovtsev remains unsigned for 2000 / 2001 … it may well take the remainder of the month in order to get this key player under contract …

Leafs Trivia I: The Maple Leafs have held the first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft only once and utilized the selection wisely by taking Wendel Clark at the top of the 1985 lottery … the team has never held the 2nd overall pick but has exercised the 3rd choice on two separate occasions … a potential franchise defenseman was chosen in 1982 … in 1989, a strapping centerman from the OHL was selected … name these players (answer below Whatever happened to) …

Leafs Trivia II: Complete this deal … John Anderson to the Quebec Nordiques on August 21, 1985 in exchange for (answer below Trivia I answer) …

Who am I: I hold the Maple Leaf team record for penalties (9) and penalty minutes (48) in a single game… I accomplished this (dubious) feat in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins during which I earned 4 minors, 2 majors, 2 misconducts and a game misconduct… at the time, I was roughly 1 week into an NHL career that would last for 4 seasons followed by a 7 year stint in the World Hockey Association (answer below Trivia II answer) …

Prospect thumbnail – D.J. Smith (D): Smith is the type of player who wants to be an NHLer so badly that you just know he’ll make it some day … the last asset remaining in the Toronto organization from the infamous Kenny Jonsson trade in 1996, D.J. has progressed steadily (albeit somewhat slowly) during the past 3 seasons in St. John’s … at 6-1 / 213, Smith is already more than capable of handling himself physically at the NHL level … he is highly competitive, puts forth a complete effort at all times and backs up his smaller teammates without having to be coaxed … on the negative side, his skating and puck skills are not considered to be of NHL caliber just yet …

Whatever happened to: Jeff Ware …

Trivia I answer: The 3rd pick in 1982, Gary Nylund twice injured his knee early in his NHL career and never regained the mobility that he had previously displayed in junior hockey … adopting a tough stay-at-home style, Nylund would go on to play for 3 teams over 11 seasons before retiring in 1993 … the 3rd pick in 1989, Scott Thornton was little more than a rugged 4th line grinder for 3 teams until being traded to Dallas last season … in Dallas, Thornton finally exhibited the overall game that had caused him to be rated so highly while in the junior ranks … Scott parlayed a strong showing with the Stars into a lucrative long term contract with the San Jose Sharks this summer …

Trivia II answer: Brad Maxwell … in making this trade, the Maple Leafs were seeking the abundant scoring ability and toughness displayed earlier in the veteran blueliner’s career with the Minnesota North Stars … Brad’s stay in Toronto was a short one as he was dealt to Vancouver only one year later … a graduate of the New Westminster Bruins, Maxwell comprised one half of what was arguably the finest defensive pairing in junior hockey history (though the Potvin – Turnbull combo was a pretty good one as well) … his partner with the Bruins was Barry Beck, drafted second overall by the Colorado Rockies in 1977 … Brad Maxwell was chosen 7th overall by Minnesota that same year …

Who am I answer: Jim (Flipper) Dorey went berserk on October 16, 1968 and, as a result, will probably remain in the Leafs’ record book forever …

“Keys to Success” series continues: Watch for the second article in the 2 part series identifying keys to the Maple Leafs’ 2000 / 2001 season appearing later this week at Hockey’s Future …