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Several Topics On The Table At GM Meetings

What figured to be a fairly sleepy GM meeting on re-alignment and boarding has morphed into a session to address hot-button issues.

The meeting is being convened at a Toronto airport hotel.

Start with the conversation about goalie-crashing.

That Boston’s Milan Lucic avoided a suspension because director of player safety Brendan Shanahan said he accidentally ran over Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller has stirred ample controversy.

Leaf fans saw goalie James Reimer injured by a similar impact from the Canadiens Brian Gionta October 22. The Montreal forward wasn’t penalized and Reimer hasn’t played since. The ...

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Burke Feels Goalies Need To Be Protected

Brian Burke’s oft-blustery vibe hides a fundamental element of his nature.

At heart, he is conservative.

Take the NHL general manager’s meeting, convened Tuesday at a Toronto airport hotel.

There were two hot-button issues. One was the Milan Lucic hit on Buffalo’s Ryan Miller that drew no suspension from director of player safety Brendan Shanahan.

Burke understands the impact of losing your number one goalie. The Leafs were cruising along at 4-1-1 when James Reimer was hit by the Canadiens Brian Gionta. Since then they have gone 6-5-0 and the team’s goal against average has jumped ...

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To Absent Friends…

‘Let us lift our glasses And direct a toast That they may abide in our hearts Forever’

– The toast ‘To Absent Friends’

They are gone and yet never gone. Their legacy is a glimmer in the tears of the people who love them still.

The four men enshrined Tuesday in the Hockey Hal of Fame have earned their sport’s version of immortality. Likenesses of Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Ed Belfour and Mark Howe will be hung in the Great Hall. There you will find evidence of their deeds until the shinny glass ...

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Beating The Odds

Ed Belfour. Never drafted.

Doug Gilmour. Drafted in the seventh round.

Is it still possible for a player to slip through the network of scouts and bird dogs, internet assessments and Central Scouting reports to beat the odds and land a spot in the NHL?

A glance at the Leafs roster says yes. So do some of the latest inductees for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

With James Reimer injured, the top three remaining goaltenders in the Leafs system weren’t selected in the NHL draft: Ben Scrivens, Jonas Gustavsson and Mark Owuya.

Tyler Bozak, holding ...

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All That Matters Is Winning

A dozen years ago I spoke to Craig Hartsburg, the coach of what was then called the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

The Ducks had gained a road win here in an exhibition of trap hockey that made your eyes bleed. I commended him on the win but said “you know, that game was unwatchable.”

Hartsburg presented his case beautifully.

“I don’t care.”

Would you?

What would you say if I told you I could wave a wand and guarantee the Leafs would qualify for the post season? The only caveat: they had to play a ...

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Gustavsson Needs More Time

Took a straw poll among ten or so media types at the MasterCard Centre on who would start in goal for the Leafs Thursday in St. Louis.

“Gustavsson?”

Mine was the only hand.

I am not surprised by the meagre confidence people both in and outside that cozy press box have in Jonas Gustavsson. Now in his third season with the Leafs, he hasn’t done a whole lot to justify faith. Gustavsson’s career goals against is a shoddy 3.10. His save percentage is equally crummy at .896.

He has won only 26 of the ...

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