The Weekend Warrior

By Randy Nicholson

Berard news: The latest information regarding the status of injured Leafs star Bryan Berard is quite startling … at a meeting with his surgeon (Dr. Stanley Chang) this week, Berard was told that the damaged eye would neither improve nor deteriorate at this point and that no further surgical procedures were required … as a result, Bryan has been cleared to resume dryland workouts and will soon hit the ice in order to determine whether or not he can compensate for depth perception limitations … a full comeback is still considered a long shot as the NHL (rather than Berard or the Maple Leafs) will ultimately decide whether or not Bryan satisfies the league’s minimum sight requirements before he can be permitted to play … in any case, Berard’s single minded determination to get back into the Toronto line-up just might beat those long odds some day and should also provide a great deal of inspiration to his Leaf team mates …

Door still open for Potsie: Pat Quinn isn’t ruling out the eventual return of Alexander Karpovtsev despite recent absurd posturing by the defenseman’s agent, Mark Gandler … history suggests, however, that there it will only be another week or so before the situation reaches the point of no return … although the Leafs may ultimately be forced to resolve the matter by dealing Alexander’s rights to another club, I don’t believe that anyone in the NHL will pay Gandler’s current asking price of $3.5M per season for a steady but unspectacular (and too frequently injured) player such as Karpovtsev … Toronto’s current offer (roughly $2.5M per season) is much more realistic for a player of Alex’s caliber … meanwhile, the Leafs continue to stockpile experienced defensive depth with reports now indicating that 38 year-old Grant Ledyard has been invited to attend Toronto’s Training Camp on a tryout basis …

Galbraith bucks the odds: Lance Galbraith represents one of the more interesting personal stories in attendance at this year’s Rookie Camp … Lance is one of only two free agents attending the camp (Swift Current’s Ben Ondrus being the other) … a troubled youth from the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Galbraith has certainly had his fair share of trouble with the local constabulary during his 20 years … with his life now seemingly headed in a more acceptable direction, Lance was a force on the #1 line and scored 25 goals for Brian Kilrea’s Ottawa 67’s during their Memorial Cup run last season … a real fan favorite in Ottawa, Galbraith has a penchant for taking on opposing enforcers and is absolutely fearless on the ice … Lance will probably be returned to the 67’s for his overage season even if he performs well in Kitchener … in Ottawa, he may join a significant Maple Leafs “mafia” with fellow Toronto chattels Zion, Delisle, Cereda and Sozinov also expected to play there this season …

Leafs Trivia I: He was ultimately the only tangible asset acquired when Darryl Sittler was unceremoniously dispatched to Philadelphia in 1982 … he set the Maple Leafs’ team record for most points in a season by a rookie with 66 during the 1982 / 1983 campaign … name this player (answer below Whatever happened to) …

Leafs Trivia II: Complete this deal … Vincent Damphousse, Peter Ing, Scott Thornton and Luke Richardson to Edmonton on September 19, 1991 in exchange for (answer below Trivia I answer) …

Who am I: I am the last Maple Leafs’ netminder to post a GAA below 2.00 for an entire NHL season (answer below Trivia II answer) …

Hillier moves up: Mark Hillier has quietly been named Toronto’s Director of Amateur Scouting and will now report directly to the team’s new Personnel Chief, Mike Penny … as stated earlier this summer, Hillier is considered a rising star amongst the NHL’s scouting fraternity and keeping him in the fold was certainly a key accomplishment for the Maple Leafs … Mark will be based in Ottawa and should therefore be able to keep a close eye on the Toronto prospects expected to toil there for Brian Kilrea this season …

Deyell tries out in Edmonton: One-time Leafs’ prospect Mark Deyell will be attending the Edmonton Oilers’ Training Camp this fall … Deyell was formerly a standout junior player in Western Canada and also a leading scorer with the St. John’s Maple Leafs of the AHL … Mark sustained a gruesome eye injury (strikingly similar to the one suffered by Bryan Berard) while playing with the Baby Leafs 2 season’s ago and did not play at all last season …

Stepping into the Old Man’s shoes: Although superscout Joe Yannetti has left the Maple Leafs organization in order to rejoin his old boss Mike Smith in Chicago, Toronto will still have a Yannetti on the payroll this season … the club has hired Joe’s son Mark to scout the ECHL and eastern NCAA schools … Mark’s hiring continues recent moves to bring new (younger) blood into the Leafs’ amateur scouting ranks …

Tellqvist shines at Euro Tourney: Reports from the Czech Republic indicate that Leafs’ prospect Mikael Tellqvist was brilliant in goal during Sweden’s first outing against the host nation … although the match was largely dominated by a strong Czech team, Tellqvist turned aside 32 of 34 shots including breakaways by NHL vets Robert Reichel and Martin Rucinsky … Mikael certainly seems determined to live up to the many accolades bestowed on him since the Entry Draft in June …

Prospect thumbnail – Jamie Hodson (G): At one time, as virtually the only netminder in the Leafs’ farm system, Jamie was considered the team’s “goaltender of the future” … he will have some serious competition for this title now with the 3rd round selections of Jean-Francois Racine and Mikael Tellqvist at the 2000 Entry Draft … Jamie successfully battled back from a serious knee injury suffered in junior hockey last season but was inconsistent in Brandon following his return to the line-up … Hodson possesses good size (6-2/200), plays his angles well and is said to have a very quick glove hand … Jamie is earmarked for back-up duty in St. John’s this year behind veteran Jimmy Waite and will have to show something immediately in order to stay ahead of the four amateur goalies (Sebastien Centomo and Vladimir Kulkov in addition to the two named above) now pushing him for higher standing on the Maple Leafs depth chart …

Whatever happened to: Mike Craig …

Trivia I answer: Peter Ihnacak … a mature rookie from the Czech First Division when he debuted with the Maple Leafs, Peter gave Toronto solid play as their second line pivot for four seasons until succumbing to a series of injuries that effectively derailed his NHL career … Ihnacak wrapped up his playing days with Germany’s Krefeld Penguins in 1996 / 1997 and is now a coach with the Nürnberg Ice Tigers of the DEL …

Trivia II answer: Grant Fuhr, Glenn Anderson and Craig Berube … Toronto’s new President and General Manager Cliff Fletcher sought to quickly put his mark on the team with this spectacular pre-season trade … Berube quickly became a fan favorite in Toronto due to his energetic and physical play but would leave town only a few months later when included in the Doug Gilmour trade in January 1992 … as expected, Fuhr played strongly for the Maple Leafs but became expendable after Felix Potvin arrived and gave the team a second quality starter … Fuhr became the key ingredient when big Dave Andreychuk was acquired from the Sabres in February 1993 … only Anderson would remain with the club when play-off glory finally returned to Toronto in the spring of 1993 …

Who am I answer: Goaltending legend Jacques Plante … Plante posted a sparkling 1.88 GAA for Toronto during the 1970 / 1971 campaign … he was named to the NHL’s 2nd All Star team at the age of 42 following
that season, perhaps the last great performance of many turned in by “Jake the Snake” …

Special thanks to Jan Buben for providing information regarding Mikael Tellqvist’s exploits at the Euro Tournament in Zlin, Czech Republic.

Leafs’ Rookie Camp is underway. Look for continuing coverage of this important event here at your headquarters for Maple Leafs’ prospect news – Hockey’s Future.