- Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun: Is the patience of Brian Burke running thin in Toronto? They are currently 28th with 28 points, 3 points fewer than they had last year at the same point.
“Inexcusable lapses have cost them too many games and too many points. A putrid start here, a late goal to blow a lead there and the Leafs have squandered opportunities to ease their way into a respectable spot in the standings.”
At the top of Burke’s wishlist is big power forward with some offensive talent. Finding a trade partner has been difficult but, “The tightness of the (Western Conference) probably helps us right now,” Poulin said. “There are teams that won’t wait until the trade deadline because they will want to make a push much earlier.”
- Vinay Menon of the Toronto Star: Change is coming according to Brian Burke. He’s been working the phones looking for size and scoring.
“We need a big forward,” Burke says, as a couple of suits stroll past and nod hello. “Everyone points to the center position. But I think if we had a Top 6 forward with size, center or wing, it would help us. Right now we’re not getting to enough loose pucks in front of the net. We’re not creating enough traffic in front of the net. So that to me is our biggest need.”
“I think Ron brushes some people the wrong way with his mannerisms when in fact he’s a great guy and a great teacher and a great coach,” says Burke. “But I think his mannerisms with the media – which, by the way, have been developed over a very frustrating period of time – have led some people to turn on Ron unfairly.
“That doesn’t change my thinking. We are not looking at a coaching change.”
- Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN: Is it time to blowup the Calgary Flames? LeBrun would blowup the Flames, putting Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff on the market. The Kings would be interested in Iginla, the Canadiens might be too. Would he waive his no-trade though? He has another 2 years left at $7 million. Burnside wonders if a team would part with a 1st round pick, a top prospect or “tidy little package” for Iginla? Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay might get some interest, though both have a no-movement clause. To quote Burnside “how does that happen, by the way?”, referring to Jokinen and Tanguay’s no-movement clause. It may be time to replace management as well.
- Dmitry Chesnokov via twitter: Marek Svatos and KHL’s Avangard have mutually agreed to terminate Svatos’s contract. Chesnokov hears that he may stay in the KHL with Dinamo Riga.
- Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Zach Bogosian missed last night’s game with multiple nagging injuries. The Thrashers play 4 games in 6 days after Christmas, so he was given some extra time to heal. Niclas Bergfor was scratched again, along with Nic Antropov.
- James O’Brien of Pro Hockey Talk: The race to get the rink built in Pittsburgh is on.
I may be able to sneak in an update later on today. Traveling begins shortly, will be on the road for the majority of the day so I may not get a chance. If not, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our readers. No posting tomorrow, and we’ll see about boxing day.