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.

Another Lindros Story: Apparently Mr. B. Clarke of Philadelphia is
ready to kiss and make up with the entire Lindros clan … its very
doubtful, though, that a proud man like Bobby would be willing to kiss
the particular part of Eric’s anatomy needed to bring that marriage back
off the rocks … there is a prevailing opinion out there that the Flyers
still effectively control Lindros’ destiny but I’m not really buying
into this view … Eric has no financial concerns (based on past earnings
and potential insurance income) and can basically refuse any trade
engineered by Clarke that is not to his liking … in the interim, he can
wait on the sidelines and regain his full health, knowing that
unrestricted free agency is now only approximately 1 ½ seasons away …
the law of diminishing returns is quickly coming into play here for his
former team … by the way, Eric is said to be still intent on playing for
the Maple Leafs and, given the situation outlined above, he’ll likely
get his wish if he simply remains patient and sticks to his guns …
incidently, I was very interested to note that the Flyers let Mark
Recchi play last week following a serious head injury … I suppose that
some things never change …

Keep The Faith: I have it on very good authority (and there is not a
greater Leafs’ expert in the world that my very good friend, Nadios)
that the Maple Leafs will soon emerge from their early season funk … be
assured that it is only a matter of time until the club (with so many
new players) will begin to develop the cohesion that will lead to
serious improvement … by the way, get well soon Nat – we’re all pulling
hard for you …

Leafs Trivia I: In 1972, Bobby Orr broke this Maple Leaf rearguard’s
record for most points in a single play-off year … name the Toronto
defender who had previously held this record (answer below Whatever
happened to) …

Antropov Cleared to Practice: Less than a week after Yanic Perreault
returned to the Maple Leafs lineup, another injured pivot is following
close behind him on the comeback trail … Nik Antropov, the hulking
20-year-old from Kazakhstan, has begun to skate with his teammates for
the first time since injuring his right knee against the Ottawa Senators
six months ago … Antropov spent much of the off-season strengthening the
knee and is now in outstanding physical condition … when the team was
on their three-game western swing, Leafs’ Development Coach Paul Dennis
stayed behind to help Antropov with his recovery … now Nik has taken the
next step by joining team practices … he is expected to return to the
lineup in another four to six weeks …

Crowded Cage in St. John’s: Last season’s starter. Jimmy Waite, has
returned to the Baby Leafs’ lineup following a rather severe round of
vertigo … St. John’s will evidently carry three netminders on their
roster (Mike Minard and Jamie Hodson are the others) until it is certain
that Waite has fully recovered … eventually, however, one goalie will
probably be moved out … Hodson, who has struggled badly of late, may be
the unlucky one as he can be returned to Brandon of the WHL as an
overage player …

Leafs Trivia II: Complete this deal … Dmitri Mironov and a draft choice
to Pittsburgh on July 8, 1995 in exchange for (answer below Trivia I
answer) …

Another ex-Leaf to Chicago: The recent hiring of Al MacAdam as an
Assistant Coach in Chicago brings the total of Mike Smith-era Maple
Leafs now with the Hawks to eight … they are Smith, MacAdam, Nick
Beverley, Alpo Suhonen, Joe Yannetti, Phil Walker, Steve Sullivan, Kris
King and Alexander Karpovtsev for those keeping score at home … at press
time, we were unable to confirm unsubstantiated stories that
representatives for both Teeder Kennedy and Howie Meeker are now working
out lucrative long-term deals with the Black Hawks …

Prospect news: At the conclusion of the Rookie Camp in September, we
stated that Mirko Murovic had shown well but needed to develop his
scoring chops this year with Acadie-Bathurst of the LHMJQ … Mirko is
indeed finding the scoreboard more regularly with 16 points (3 goals and
13 assists) in the team’s first 13 games … Murovic also continues to
play a rugged game as evidenced by 24 PIM … so far so good – but that
puny goal total is still a source of concern … by the way, Erie’s Brad
Boyes has now jumped up to 2nd spot in the OHL scoring race with 27
points (14 goals and 13 assists) in 15 games played …

Who am I: I am the only player originally drafted by the Toronto Maple
Leafs who has recorded 100 points or more during a single NHL season
(answer below Trivia II answer) …

“Minnie’s Munchkins”: St. John’s Maple Leafs goaltender Mike Minard is
off to a fine start this season, both on and off the ice … in addition
to some stellar performances as Jimmy Waite’s stand-in, Minard is
earning kudos from the St. John’s community for attempting to revive
“Minnie’s Munchkins”, a charitable initiative he started last season in
Hamilton aimed at giving hospitalized children a chance to attend home
games and meet their ice heroes … Curtis Joseph sponsors a similar
program in the Toronto area … in an era too often dominated by the wrong
kind of sporting headline, stories like this one are far too rare …

Tellqvist Shines Again: On October 24th a sold-out Globe Arena (13,850)
watched Stockholm rivals AIK vs. Djurgarden (and top SEL goaltenders
Thomas vs. Tellqvist) … the game itself was a thriller and Tellqvist
played a key role in a 3-2 Djurgardens victory … in the final 5 minutes
of play, with the big crowd cheering wildly for both teams, Mikael came
through with huge saves on Ahlstrom and Danielsson … in the latter
case, the save can only be described as “Hasek-like” – no goal stick,
his defence hopelessly out of position and AIK attackers seemingly
everywhere, but Tellqvist somehow managed to prevail … in the end Mikael
stopped 26 of 28 shots and Thomas 28 of 31 … the victory secured 1st
place for Djurgarden in the Swedish Elite League and allowed Tellqvist
to claim top spot amongst Swedish goaltenders with a sparkling GAA of
2.14 … this week Anders Hedberg, GM of Swedish National Team (and a name
that Toronto hockey fans might recall), released the roster for the
upcoming Karjala Cup Tournament to be played in Finland from November
9th to 12th (Russia, Finland and the Czech Republic will also take
part) and Tellqvist has again been chosen to backstop Sweden …

Prospect thumbnail – Michal Travnicek (RW): No prospect in the Toronto
organization carries as much personal baggage as this young Czech winger
does … previously banished by the International Ice Hockey Federation
on 2 separate occasions for spitting and high sticking incidents,
Travnicek’s performance at the Rookie Camp in September and more
recently in St. John’s leaves little doubt as to his preferred playing
style … he hits everything that moves and seems genuinely intent on
inflicting grievous injury whenever possible … Michal plays an extremely
gritty (read dirty) game very reminiscent of the Sabres’ Vaclav Varada …
Travnicek also demonstrates ample skill and hockey sense but must
continue to work on improving these areas in order to advance … it will
be interesting to see how he will react when finally called to task for
his actions, as all big hitters inevitably are … most agree that he
seems like a solid prospect (if he survives) …

Whatever happened to: Sean Haggerty …

Trivia I answer: Toronto’s legendary Tim Horton had established the
previous mark with 16 points (3 goals and 13 assists) during the 1962
Stanley Cup playoffs …

Trivia II answer: Larry Murphy joined the Blue and White amid much
expectation in this key trade engineered by Cliff Fletcher … Murphy did
kick in 61 points (12 goals and 49 assists) for the Maple Leafs in
1995/96 but was never really accepted by the Maple Leafs’ faithful
(perhaps because he didn’t skate like Toller Cranston) and was
subsequently traded to the Red Wings in 1997 … although supposedly
almost finished at the time of his transfer from Toronto to Detroit,
this Hall of Fame defender has accumulated another 150 points since
moving to the Motor City and has combined with Nik Lidstrom to form one
of the better defensive tandems in the NHL, clearly proving that his
detractors in Toronto were incorrect … in my humble opinion, the Maple
Leafs could still use his talents on their somewhat less than awe
inspiring power-play unit …

Who am I answer: Maple Leafs’ great Darryl Sittler, recorded 100 points
during the 1975/76 season and then another 117 points during the 1977
/78 campaign …

Thanks again to Jan Buben for the update on Toronto prospects playing in
Europe.

Visit us often at Hockey’s Future for all important news pertaining to
the Toronto Maple Leafs’ organization.