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.
Seemingly endless slump grinds on: When the team turned in perhaps its worst performance of the season at home against the Bruins on January 24th, even their most staunch supporters began to despair that a season that once seemed so very promising is now gradually slipping away … the Leafs have now won but 6 of 20 games played since December 15th … what’s especially troubling is that so many of these poor outings have come at the Air Canada Centre and against sub-500 teams … a once decent powerplay is now completely ineffectual and stellar goaltending from Curtis Joseph is being wasted on far too many nights … virtually everyone concedes that there is an abundance of veteran leadership in Toronto but this asset just isn’t evident on the ice of late … if something isn’t soon done to reverse this slide, any chance of making a serious bid for a championship this season will melt away long before the games really begin to matter …
Rumours: Insiders suggest that Toronto was also very much involved when the Penguins traded blueliner Jiri Slegr to Atlanta recently – the Leafs may have offered something more substantial than the 3rd round draft pick ultimately accepted from the Thrashers but Pittsburgh was understandably hesitant to deal the talented Czech to a potential playoff opponent … it seems increasingly likely that LA r Read more»
As the title of this article suggests, there is a fair amount of Sabres’ prospect news to catch up on. Some of the items may have already received a mention at the HF Sabres Message Board, but I think it is worth repeating them in this column so that those who had not previously seen these news items will now be caught up.
There is also some information that is new, including an assessment of the changes to the Top 20 list. A couple familiar names have been removed from the list, while some new prospects have moved up the charts, so there is definitely a minor changing of the guard amongst the Buffalo prospects.
D Dimitri Kalinin and LW Denis Hamel both have made the most of their rookie seasons, as they are inexperienced players who have stepped in and contributed immediately. Kalinin has been the more highly touted of the two, as he has performed at a high enough level to have some supporters whispering “Calder Trophy nominee” (Dimitri has struggled some of late, however). Dimitri was always known for his strong defensive play, but he has also exhibited some offensive ability which will only improve as he becomes more confident.
Meanwhile, Denis Hamel has quietly been playing solid hockey, mostly on Buffalo’s 4th line. Denis has chipped in the occasional goal while concentrating on playing a grinding, defensive style that is sure to please coach Lindy Ruff. Hamel has scored 7 goals, with 3 of those goals being game-winners.
Both players have played at least 25 games this Read more»