A day Leaf fans might want to keep open…

Joffrey Lupul is the only significant Leaf players whose contract is up this season.

July 5, 2013. That’s less than six months from now.

You can make a reasoned argument that anything that happens this season won’t influence the long term future of the franchise as much as what happens in early July.

Here’s why.

Everyone needs to add new players. The salary cap for 2013-2014 is $64.3 million.  Most teams will need deep cuts to comply.

Joffrey Lupul is the only significant Leaf players whose contract is up this season.

Each team has two potential buyouts. They must be used this summer or next.

Sour faces will abound ...

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Leafs Continue To Skate Ahead Of Camp

bozak488jan10

A full complement of Maple Leafs players skated at MasterCard Centre Friday as they continue to prepare for the start of camp. A few players hit the ice at 10 am for skill drills while the entire team joined them at 11 am.

Leafs TV was able to speak with three players following the informal skate. Check out the interviews with Carl Gunnarsson, James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul.

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Burke’s surprising dismissal is all about style.

Brian Burke has given way to Dave Nonis as the GM of the Maple Leafs.

Brian Burke has given way to Dave Nonis as the GM of the Maple Leafs.

 

About the only thing that came out of Tuesday’s press conference on Brian Burke’s firing was the consistent reference to style.

“It was more about leadership style and fit, without getting into specifics,” said MLSE Chief Operating Officer Tom Anselmi.

“Did the four years of missing the playoffs factor into the conversation with the shareholders? For sure it did. At the end of the day we were really looking to a different voice, a different leadership approach.”

Clearly, ...

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What The Leafs Lineup Could Look Like

ulmerdepthchart488

Here’s a look at the potential lines and defensive pairings. They were determined through a rigorous process that included looking for names in my Alpha Bits.

Until further notice, Tyler Bozak is the Leafs number one centre. Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul are the only combination coach Randy Carlyle has committed to. Bozak has been mentioned frequently in trade talks but with James van Riemsdyk scheduled to start the season at left wing on the second line the job is Bozak’s to lose.

MacArthur and Grabovski have longstanding chemistry and van Riemsdyk ...

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Carlyle promises more accountability, defence and fitness.

Coach Randy Carlyle said his 18 games behind the bench will be instrumental in his decision-making.

Coach Randy Carlyle said his 18 games behind the bench will be instrumental in his decision-making.

Get ready.

Leafs coach Randy Carlyle delivered that message before a packed house of quote-starved  journos outside the team’s dressing room, Monday.

This edition of the team will be fitter and more defensively astute. Player roles will be more defined.

“There’s not going to be a lot of changes to the system,” Carlyle said. “Our expectations were we would play to a higher level through better conditioning (and) have a better and more responsible defensive attitude. Accountability ...

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What Lies Ahead For Carlyle & The Leafs

carlyle400dec5

The NHL lockout is over.

Now comes the hard part.

The clock has been restarted with a new CBA and the Leafs, with familiar question marks in goal and in the middle of the number one line have been handed another start.

So what are their chances?

Absolutely no idea.

Anyone who says they know is lying. The new landscape ushered in with a fresh CBA has yet to be surveyed, let alone understood.  The roster could be reshaped overnight.

So let’s go over the first 10 things we know and the first 10 things we ...

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USA Wins Gold At World Juniors

biggs488jan5

The United States is on top of the hockey world following a 3-1 win over Sweden to win the Gold medal at the 2013 World Junior tournament. It is the second gold medal for the USA in three years as they won the 2010 tournament over Canada.

Leafs prospects Tyler Biggs and Garret Sparks won gold medals while Swedish prospect Tom Nilsson took home a silver medal. Biggs was on the ice for all three USA goals on the day. He finished the tournament with one point and a +6 rating. ...

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Three Leafs To Battle For Gold

nilsson488jan3

For the fourth straight year, Canada will not win the Gold medal at the World Junior tournament as they fell 5-1 to the United States in the first semi-final on Thursday. Canada was down 2-0 after the opening 20 and 4-0 after two periods. In the second semi-final, Sweden defeated Russia 3-2 in the shootout after blowing a 2-0 first period lead.

The Leafs will have three players in the Gold Medal game as Tyler Biggs and Garret Sparks will represent the USA while Tom Nilsson is on team Sweden. The ...

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USA Routs Czech Republic To Advance To Semi-Finals

Leaf prospect Tyler Biggs is accruing a solid record of international experience.

The first semi-final at the 2013 World Junior Championships is set following the USA’s 7-0 romp over the Czech Republic. With the victory, the USA will now face Canada Thursday in the first semi-final (4am TSN) as the winner advances to the Gold Medal game.

The USA scored five power-play goals (three in the second) to easily handle the second place team from Group A. If you missed the game live, you can watch a replay at 10:30am TSN and 7:30pm on TSN.

Leafs prospect Tyler Biggs didn’t have a point in ...

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Quarter-Finals All Set At World Juniors

rielly488dec28

The 2013 World Junior Championships have moved on to the quarter-finals and all four Leafs prospects are still alive to win the Gold medal.

Morgan Rielly and Canada faced Russia with top spot in Group B on the line and Canada came out on top 4-1 thanks to two first period power play goals during a five minute man advantage.  Canada will now get a bye to the semi-finals where they will face the winner of the USA/Czech Republic game while Russia takes on Switzerland in the quarter-finals Wednesday (8am, TSN).

Rielly was held ...

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