KULEMIN IN PLAY The Toronto Maple Leafs are sitting in a playoff spot but are listening to offers and willing to trade forward Nikolai Kulemin prior to the March 5th trade deadline, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. Dreger reports the Leafs feel Kulemin will be too expensive to resign and notes that for the Leafs to move Kulemin, they will need to receive an NHL player in return that they can put into their lineup and that the Leafs won’t move Kulemin for a draft pick. The Penguins eyeing size and versatility in the top-9 have been gathering intel on Kulemin, Inside Pittsburgh Sports learned earlier this month.
Penguins (19-8-0, 38 pts) @ Leafs (15-11-1, 31 pts) The Penguins and Leafs faceoff for the second time in five days and third time this season. Both teams teams have split the two meetings and combined for 16 goals. Expect another exciting brand of hockey tonight. As we near the 30 game mark, the Penguins are in great position and appear ticketed for the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, barring an unforeseen collapse. The Penguins hold a comfortable seven point lead over the New Jersey Devils (13-9-5, 31 pts) in the Atlantic Division and 10 point lead over the preseason favorites New York Rangers (13-10-2, 28 pts) who have two games in hand. The Penguins, Boston Bruins (17-4-3, 37 pts) and Montreal Canadiens (18-5-4, 40 pts) are the top contenders for the No. 1 or No. 2 seed. The Penguins matchup with the Leafs tonightRead More »
MORNING PENS BUZZ *The Penguins begin a stretch of three games in four nights, starting tonight in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. The Leafs who match up well against the Penguins, defeated Pittsburgh 5-2 on Jan 23 in the Penguins home opener. The Maple Leafs with a record of 15-10-0, 30 pts, have the look of a potential playoff team and right now are 5th in the Eastern Conference. Expect a sloppy defensive game as the Penguins come in averaging a league high 3.54 goals per game and the Leafs can skate and put the puck in the net, ranking 6th in the NHL averaging 3 goals per game. Pittsburgh in back to back situations this weekend return home to host the New York Islanders Sunday night. The big game is Tuesday night at home against the Boston Bruins, a game many should be looking forward to and a possibleRead More »
FLYERS VIEWED IN LEAGUE CIRCLES AS POTENTIAL SLEEPER Phil Kessel was an untouchable with Brian Burke at the helm but that’s no longer the case under GM Dave Nonis. Darren Dreger reported yesterday on TSN that NHL clubs are expressing interest in Leafs winger Phil Kessel and that Nonis is listening, but no deal is in the works. Despite Kessel’s slow start, there are doubts in league circles that the Leafs will move him this season. The Penguins in the market for a top-6 winger have had scouts in Toronto twice this year as top professional scout Don Waddell has been a frequent visitor to the Air Canada Center.
LEAFS – PENGUINS POST GAME BUZZ The Penguins had seven giveaways and were plagued by poor puck management Wednesday night in their 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, whether it would be a failure to get pucks deep or turnovers inside their own end. “There just wasn’t enough execution with the puck and management of the puck to play where we needed to play,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “We didn’t have enough shifts in their end and we didn’t execute and make passes thru the neutral zone as good as we could have. Definitely not our best game,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said afterwards. Poor puck management played a part in nearly every Leafs goal: Clark MacArthur’s goal at 3:09 of the second period to tie the game at 1-1 was a perfect example of that. Eric Tangradi was the culprit coming into the Leafs zone off theRead More »
Toronto Maple Leafs (1-1-1, 2 pts) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0-0, 4 pts) PIT Previous Game: Pittsburgh 6 – New York 3: Evgeni Malkin had 3 assists and James Neal scored 2 goals leading the Penguins to a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers. Tomas Vokoun made 31 saves, notching his first win as a Penguin. TOR Previous Game: Buffalo 2 – Toronto 1: Ryan Miller made 34 saves on shots as the Buffalo Sabres held on for a 2-1 win at the Air Canada Center. Toronto went 1 for 7 on the power play in the loss. HOME OPENER NOTES *The Penguins open tonight’s game with a 23-12-9 all-time record in home openers *Today marks the fifth time that the Penguins have played the Maples Leafs in their home opener, going 1-2-1 in their previous four instances. *The Penguins have averaged 3.54 goals per game against the Maple LeafsRead More »
A bit of a stunner in the hockey world as the Toronto Maple Leafs today fired President and general manager Brian Burke 10 days before the season, per multiple reports. Burke took over as Toronto’s GM in 2008 and has no playoff appearances to show for. Under Burke the Leafs went 128-135-42 in nearly 4 seasons. However, many believed he would last this season, especially with the way he represented Maple Leafs ownership in CBA negotiations, a sign that his job security appeared safe. Guess it wasn’t. The Leafs have not made the playoffs since 2004 and enter this season as a borderline playoff team. A huge knock on Burke had been his inability to find a No. 1 goaltender. The team, though, has been widely connected to goaltender Roberto Luongo in trade talks leading into this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs (30-29-7, 67 pts) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (39-21-5, 83 pts) MORNING SKATE BUZZ PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight and with a win, they can move six points behind the conference leading New York Rangers. Riding a six game winning streak, the Penguins are starting to put some heat on the Rangers (42-16-7) who lead the conference with 91 points. The Penguins who are 21-8-2 at home this season, hold a two point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers (37-21-7, 81 pts) for the No. 4 seed. Both teams have played 65 games. The Leafs lost to Boston 5-4 last night and have dropped 11 of 13 games. They are 14-16-2 on the road this season. PENS 18-4-1 IN LAST 23 GAMES The Penguins are 18-4-1 since Jan. 13 and have been led by Evgeni Malkin (38G-43A-81Pts) and Marc Andre Fleury (35-14-3, 2.29 GAA,Read More »
Around the NHL — In about 5 minutes (12:00 p.m.), it will become known if any teams put in a claim for wingers Nikolay Zherdev and Marek Svatos. The sense is someone might take a chance on Zherdev who has 15 goals on the season. Pittsburgh will not put a claim on Zherdev and they are not expected to put a claim on Svatos. There appears to be no chance the Penguins would ever consider bringing Zherdev into their locker room. As for Svatos, he has never been a player that has interested the Penguins. As I mentioned several times over the summer, Svatos agent Rich Evans aggressively tried to get Pittsburgh interested in bringing Svatos on board but Pittsburgh never showed an interest. It would be a surprise if they did now. — GM’s around the league are keeping a close eye on Clark MacArthur in Toronto. Negotiations betweenRead More »
Ducks Bolster Blueline The Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs have kicked off some movement leading into the trade deadline. The Anaheim Ducks announced today that they have acquired defenseman Francois Beauchemin from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for right wing Joffrey Lupul and defenseman Jake Gardiner. “We are thrilled to be able to reacquire Francois,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray in a released statement.