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A Busy Off-Season For Franson


Cody Franson was back at school Friday … the Leafs Hockey School that is. The Leafs defenceman was in town to help out on-ice activities for the day at MasterCard Centre.

“It’s fun, that was me back in the day and I haven’t forgotten those days and how much fun they are for kids,” Franson said.

It isn’t the only time this summer that Franson will be working with youngsters as they learn the game of hockey. He and Shea Weber help out at the Sicamous hockey school every August in British […]

Posted in Iaboni's Blog Posts |

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Sundin’s place cemented with Hall of Fame selection.

Hindsight, it seems, loves Mats Sundin.

The 13-year-Leaf is a first-ballot member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

He has been accorded the highest available honor in the shortest time possible.

In a season that included the raising of his number 13 to the rafters at Air Canada Centre, any  lingering questions about Sundin’s place in the pantheon of the team’s finest players, and that of the NHL greatest, has evaporated, for now, forever.

Sundin will be inducted with Pavel Bure, Adam Oates and Joe Sakic, November 12 at the Hall, a slapshot away […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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Newest Leaf can’t wait to get going

JVR compares being acquired by the Leafs to being traded to the New York Yankees.

The New York Yankees, Jerry.

That’s the analogy James van Riemsdyk, the newest Maple Leaf, made while discussing his new hockey address, Saturday.

The Leafs acquired the 23-year-old leftwinger in a one-for-one exchange for 22-year-old defenceman Luke Schenn.

“To go to a place like Toronto is unbelievable,” van Riemsdyk said via cell. “The tradition they have.  I grew up a big New York Yankees fan. It’s like playing for the New York Yankees of the NHL.”

“Toronto has always […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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Leafs swing a deal: Schenn for van Riemsdyk.

The Maple Leafs have landed Philadelphia power forward James van Riemsdyk

Pittsburgh –The Maple Leafs have landed winger James vanRiemsdyk in a trade for defenceman Luke Schenn.

News of the trade leaked out hours after the end of what seemed an uneventful entry draft.

The long-anticipated deal sends the 22-year-old Schenn to play with his brother Brayden in Philadelphia. The Flyers needed a defenceman because of the long-term injury of their captain Chris Pronger.

The 23-year-old van Riemsdyk, the second choice in the 2007 draft has been beset by injuries. This year he […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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Leafs fan Matthew Finn dons blue and white.

Matthew Finn was a solid point producer and all-around defenceman for the Guelph Storm.

Pittsburgh – Matthew Finn has gone from a bud to a Leaf.

A member of the Leafs Buds Club when he was a kid living in Etobicoke, Finn was the Leafs second round choice, 35th overall at the NHL draft.

A six-foot, 195-pound left defenceman, Finn had been rated a mid first-round pick. Finn scored ten goals and added 38 points with the Guelph Storm.

Former Carlo Colaiacovo is Finn’s second cousin and until last year Finn kept posters […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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Leafs grab another defenceman in Morgan Rielly.

The Leafs made Moose Jaw Warrior defenceman Morgan Rielly their first pick, fifth overall.

Pittsburgh – Morgan Rielly wants to get one thing straight.

“I learned in school it was I before E,” he told his first ever-big league press-conference. “I always thought I had it right.”

I before E it is.

Rielly, a six-foot, 190-pound defenceman with the Moose Jaw Warriors adds to an already stacked position. The Maple Leafs hope to graduate Korbinian Holzer from the Marlies to the big club this fall. Jesse Blacker will enter his sophomore season with […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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Brian Burke and the golden moment: an essay.

Is this Brian Burke’s moment?

Every great team is built on one or two spectacular decisions perched atop countless years of smaller ones.

For the champion Los Angeles Kings, the future crystallized in the acquisition of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

For the Boston Bruins it was the free agent signing of  Zdeno Chara. Brian Burke’s bold move to draft the Sedin twins provided the Vancouver Canucks with an elite cornerstone tandem. The Rangers made the jump when they signed Brad Richards.

For the first time in his tenure, the general manager of the […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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Alex Galchenyuk could be the Cadillac of hybrids.

I’d take the guy on the left.

I think Alex Galchenyuk is the guy.

If he is there at five, I think the Maple Leafs draft him.

As one hockey guy put it, just because Nail Yakupov was bestowed the title as the number one guy doesn’t necessarily means he deserves it.

Wish I could say I gleaned this intel from the Leafs brass. Seems they have more important things to do than tell me their plans.

But had the Sarnia Stings centreman not torn the MCL in his left knee and missed all […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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Why the Maple Leafs should trade the fifth pick.


When Phil Kessel was drafted fifth overall in 2006, the pick was worth 90 cents on the draft dollar.

Trade the damn fifth pick.

Really. Trade it.

Take that fifth pick, the Tim Connolly, Blake Wheeler, Raffi Torres fifth pick. The one that has over the last five years yielded Karl Alzner, Luke Schenn, brother Brayden, Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Strome.

That one.

If you can get a solid offer move it on down the road.

Most number fives play with some distinction in the NHL. Some, Phil Kessel comes to mind, are tremendously talented.

But […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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Yakupov the number one choice as first overall.

Nail Yakupov reminds scouts of another Russian who wore #10: Pavel Bure

Day 10:  Nail Yakupov, LW, 1NA

Barring an unexpected turn of events, the Edmonton Oilers will use their first overall draft choice to select Sarnia Sting right-winger Nail Yakupov.

There is little doubt Yakupov, who scored 80 goals in 107 games with the Sting has elite NHL skills. His is a trifle small at five-foot-10 but weighs in the high 190s. His skating is superb, he has an inexhaustible thirst for goalscoring and has an elite NHL shot.

Yakupov was a […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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