Two Leaf Tidbits

Maple Leaf scouts expect the unexpected

Leafs to name Phaneuf captain Monday
Maple Leaf scouts expect the unexpected

The joke making the rounds inside the NHL is that the scouts for the Maple Leafs, Flames and Flyers should all get together and play some euchre on June 25, the night of the first round of the NHL entry draft.

Those teams don’t have a first-round pick, so they might as well do something.

Dave Morrison, head amateur scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs, chuckled when he heard that one.

“But who knows, anything can happen,” said Morrison. “Maybe we’ll be dealing a card.”

Morrison was more joking than expecting his boss, GM Brian Burke, to make a deal to move up higher in the draft. The Leafs won’t pick until the third round, 62nd overall. The Leafs have six picks in all. Burke has said it’s not his priority to move up in the draft.

So Morrison and his staff have completed their list of the 210 top prospects as the Leafs rate them and will scratch them off as their names are called until it is finally Toronto’s turn.

“We’ll do it right from the top,” said Morrison, declining to say whether the team rates Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall as the top prospect. “I’ve worked for Brian before and I’m well aware of what can happen.

“You always have to be prepared. We’ll be prepared for any type of scenario. Brian in the past has been very aggressive. Who knows? We’ll cross right off from No. 1 down.”

The 62nd overall pick has worked out for some teams. St. Louis forward David Backes (2003), Pittsburgh defenceman Kris Letang (2005) and New Jersey defenceman Paul Martin (2000) came out of that slot.–maple-leaf-scouts-expect-the-unexpected

Leafs to name Phaneuf captain Monday

Burke confirms announcement will be part of sweater unveiling

The Toronto Maple Leafs will introduce a new sweater and a new captain on Monday, although neither announcement is a big surprise.

Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke confirmed Friday what has been talked about for months, since he joined the team in a blockbuster trade with the Calgary Flames, that defenceman Dion Phaneuf will be the team’s 17th captain. Phaneuf , 25, was one of four players who served as alternate captains last season.

Phaneuf , forward Fredrik Sjostrom and defence prospect Keith Aulie came to Toronto on Jan. 31 for forwards Matt Stajan , Niklas Hagman and Jamal Mayers and defenceman Ian White. As soon as Phaneuf arrived, the talk started that he would eventually become the Leafs’ captain.

He succeeds Mats Sundin , who left the team after the 2007-08 season. Since then, the Leafs operated without a captain. Last season, Phaneuf and fellow defencemen Tomas Kaberle , Mike Komisarek and Fran├žois Beauchemin rotated as alternate captains.

Since Kaberle is expected to be traded when the window on the no-trade clause in his contract opens later this month, Beauchemin and Komisarek will probably be the permanent alternate captains.

Now that he has the C on his sweater, Phaneuf will be under more pressure than any other Leaf to improve his on-ice performance. While his leadership was a welcome addition to the Leaf dressing room, Phaneuf finished the season with 32 points in 81 games split between the Leafs and the Flames. It was the lowest total in his five NHL seasons. His salary will rise to $7-million (all currency U.S.) this season, which means much more offensive production will be expected.

No radical changes are expected when the new Leaf sweaters are unveiled on Monday. It is expected the horizontal stripes on the bottom of the jerseys, which were dropped several years ago, will be restored and shoulder patches will be added. The shoulder patch is expected to be an older version of the Maple Leafs logo.

Burke scoffed at a New York Post report that his mentor, New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, is the front-runner in the Kaberle sweepstakes. But he allowed that he would not be surprised if Lamoriello pursues Kaberle hard since the Devils’ first-round playoff loss to the Philadelphia Flyers showed they need improvement on defence.

Once again, Burke repeated his insistence that his price for Kaberle is a high-end forward and not necessarily a first-round draft pick. Under the terms of Kaberle’s contract, Burke can trade him from June
25, the day of the entry draft, to Aug. 15.

9 Responses to Two Leaf Tidbits

  1. Mapleleaves says:

    We all knew who the captain was going to be, I didnt think it would happen this fast but im sure he'll do a great job. WE FINALLY HAVE A CAPTAIN!!!

    These jerseys should be awsome as well, when it comes to the Leaf theres not much play but these are the type of old Gilmour style jerseys are my favorite.

    Last year was the first time I watched almost all the leafs games (sob) and was very dissapointed, lets hope things can be better this year.

  2. Mapleleaves says:

    Im the only one posting in this one so why not say somthing about the new jersey, I just thought of this a while after seeing Kramers post on a different artical.

    I think it would be kind of neat if the maple leafs had an alternate jersey was red instead of blue.

    Im guessing the reason the maple leafs are blue instead  of red in the first place is because when the legue was created the liberals (the blue team) beat the conservatives (the red team) in the election, but really i have no idea I just heard that once.

    If somebody actually does know if there is a reason please, let me know. Ive always wondered if that was the real reason or if there was a real reason since the official colours of canada have always been red and white.

  3. Kev_Leafs says:

    In terms of political parties – the liberals are red; the conservatives are blue – so it looks like you've got something flipped there.

    Canada's colours only became red and white in the 1920s.  The 'leaf' has been associated with Canada since before WWI, but, remember, our red and white flag with the leaf emblem didn't come into existence until 1965.

    There had been a team in the early 1900s called the Toronto Blue Shirts, but they folded.  As the NHL evolved (I'm no Creationist!), the St.Pats (green + white) came to be, but they were renamed the Maple Leafs and adopted the Blue and White (perhaps in homage to the Blue Shirts).

    But, realistically, since the Habs existed well before the Leafs and they were already in red – why have the same colour jersey as your long-standing opposition?

    Of the original six, yes, the Leafs were the first English Canada team pitted against the French Canadian team; but by no means are the Leafs Canada's team, so draping themselves in the flag wouldn't be in good taste.

    And, with all of the heritage associated with the original six teams, I think it would be a travesty to adopt a third jersey with red and white colours.  Those threads are for the Red Wings. 

  4. Mapleleaves says:

    Not sure how i got thoes colours mixed up..

    Ya i was looking up the flag and how the leaf was around for a long time before an actual flag was made up.

    I had no idea about the Toronto Blue Shirts thats interesting. I suppose leaving the red and white for the redwings is a better idea.

    Thanks for your info bud.

  5. Kev_Leafs says:

    As regards Phaneuf, he's had two progressively worse seasons the past two years.  Perhaps he's set his own bar too high, but realistically he should be able to turn his game around as he is too talented to play so poorly (sic). 

    I hope the pressure of having to turn his career around isn't made even more difficult with getting the C on his chest.  He isn't good with the media interviews, and he'll now be facing the music daily.  

    I would have waited another year before naming a captain.  There was no hurry.  It's not like a Leaf was going to be called to hoist the Stanley Cup next June. 

  6. Mapleleaves says:

    I see what i got flipped now, the conservatives were in power not the liberals. Somehow mixing that up got me all confused or something.

  7. reinjosh says:

    This was a team starved for a captain and Phaneuf displayed all the necessary skills to be the captain. The fact alone that he almost single-handily vastly improved the PK was something that just pointed to captaincy. The way he helped the team improve was another. Taking Schenn under his wing, telling Kadri he needed to bulk up and just coming in and leading the locker room all show he has the skills.

    Being a captain isn't about media interviews ( I know Rory Boylen from the hockey news mentioned that he might not be great at it and inferred just as you its an integral part) its about the team and how the captain leads it. Phaneuf more than showed he was becoming the leader of this team and deserves it, the media be damned. He can improve that part of his game, the leadership he has shown can't be taught.

    And he is ready to be the guy. Its the main reason he did so poorly the past two seasons (I follow the Flames regularly) . He tried to be the man on a team with a man already in Iggy and suffered from it, including ego wise. I have no problem thinking he can't rebound and led successfully. And the guy is fully capable of turning everything around. I know people say that we traded White away and he outscored Phaneuf, but Phaneuf has huge potential and he can easily turn it around in a couple years. He already added a skill to his game that wasn't present when he played with the Flames. PK and look how that turned out for us. 

  8. Kev_Leafs says:

    In all honesty, on January 31 I knew and stated that Phaneuf was going to be the captain of the Leafs.  I then saw all the media interviews that he did, and he couldn't even string a sentence together without blatant cliches and overly repeating himself.  He couldn't even think of a different way of saying "I'm excited" and "it's an honour".  I thought that they might be better off affording him some time dealing with the frenzy that is the media in Toronto on a regular basis before thrusting this on him.  But in talking with the media, most hockey players just rely on the cliche anyway just to get it over with, so it shouldn't be a big deal. 

    I agree the PK was great with him – but that could be attributed to addition by subtraction, since Bozak and Kulemin got a lot more time on it as well with the departure of the riff-raff.  But, let's not forget the PP – it was shit even with him in the lineup throughout the end of the season. 

    I wouldn't say that it was a team starved for a captain.  I would say that it was a team that just wasn't very good.  With the subtraction of a third of the lineup, young guys getting some opportunities, and the excitement of adding a (potential) stud defencemen the team was just starting to find an identity in a situation completely devoid of pressure – we were well out of the playoffs by February.  Next season though, not as many young guys should start with the team, as I'm expecting a top six-forward, and 2 or 3 new 3rd/4th liners in the lineup, which will cost some of the kids their positions.  So it might have been an idea to wait and see how that team takes shape before naming a captain.  But, I do see him turning his game around.  And hopefully he can whip people into shape like a Messier type no nonsense captain.

  9. Leafland says:

    I seem to recall a story involving Conn Smythe and a military regiment from WWI that had blue uniforms or something to that effect and Smythe named the Leafs after the regiment and gave them blue uniforms as a tribute.  Can't remember the more explicit details.

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