The Boston Bruins didn’t let Saturday night’s shootout loss to the Rangers get them down. Boston bounced right back on Monday night with a 3-2 over the Toronto Maple Leafs for their 6th win in 7 games. The Bruins now have an 11-3-4 record on the year, good for first place in the Northeast Division.
The Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Phil Kessel and Matt Hunwick. Jason Blake would cut the Bruins lead in half with his goal for Toronto at the end of the first period. The Maple Leafs would press hard for the equalizer goal in the second period, peppering Tim Thomas with shots. It was during one of these attacks that Bruins Forward, Michael Ryder was able to steal the puck up ice and score for the Bruins, restoring their two goal lead. The Maple Leafs would add a goal in the third period but would not be able to force a tie in this one.
The Boston Bruins will play their next two games at home. They host Buffalo on 11/19 and Florida on 11/21. Bruins tickets are available for these games.
According to a Tuesday Globe and Mail report, NHL governors have been discussing the possibility of adding another NHL team to Toronto. The market does seem large enough, as the Maple Leafs already sell out the Air Canada Centre for every game. Entrepreneur Jim Balsillie, fresh off of aiding an ailing Nashville Predators team, has proposed the addition of an expansion team in Ontario. Much like the Staples Center hosts the Lakers and Clippers of the NBA, the new team would also share Air Canada Center with the Leafs. Balsillie’s other options include placing a team in Southern Ontario locations such as Hamilton, and relocating the Nashville Predators instead of creating a new expansion team.
No plans have been finalized.
Forget about summer, it’s free-agent signing season in the NHL. Over the past few days, rumors have been flying around about what market will land the big names out there like Jaromir Jagr and Mats Sundin.
Sundin was reportedly offered a 2-year, $20 million dollar contract from the Vancouver Canucks, a deal that would make him the leagues highest paid player.
“We put a major offer together to try and attract the player we felt was the best center iceman on the market,” said Canucks GM Mark Gillis. “It’s an indication we are prepared to do what it takes to attract the best players here.”
The big signing of today was by far the Detroit Red Wings landing Marian Hossa to a one-year deal worth reportedly $7.45 million dollars. The high-scoring wingman was one of the top players who propelled the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup finals, which they lost to Detroit in six games. Hossa is 29 years old.
The Chicago Blackhawks made two big signings landing probably the top defensemen on the market in Brian Campbell as well as goalie Cristobal Huet. Campbell signed an eight-year $57.12 million dollar deal and Huet inked a four-year contract worth $22.5 million.
The two other big defensemen to reach deals Tuesday were Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden, who both signed with the New York Rangers.
Rozsival re-signed with the Rangers for a four-year contract worth $20 million while Redden signs a six-year, $39 million dollar deal after skating with Ottawa last season.
Defensemen Jeff Finger, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche, signed a four-year $14 million dollar deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Dallas landed forward Sean Avery to a four-year, $15.5 million dollar deal.
“We are excited about the opportunity to add a player like Sean Avery to our group,” Stars co-general manager Brett Hull said. “His ability to play the game with skill and tenacity makes us a better team and is a great complement to the players we have here.”
The Washington Capitals will say goodbye to longtime goalie Olie Kolzig after he signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning after spending 16 seasons in Washington.
The New Jersey Devils got their hands in the mix of the free agent pool by signing Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik to contracts. Rolston agreed to a four-year, $20 million dollar deal while Holik signed a one-year contract worth $2.5 million dollars.
The New York Islanders made a little noise by singing Montreal’s former defensemen Mark Streit to a five-year $20.5 million dollar contract while the Boston Bruins also signed a former Canadien in Michael Ryder to a multi-year deal.
With the NHL salary cap rising up this season, teams have not been shy about dishing out the money to lure top free-agents to their squads. Over the next two weeks, look for almost every free agent out there to receive offers from teams trying to help the players find a new place they can call home.
Recap – What happened to the days when all the teams from Canada had a stronghold on the NHL? The only thing that the Toronto Maple Leafs have a good grip of is last place in the Northeast and a pathetic 14 road losses, also the worst in the division. It’s been a struggle for the Leafs because to put it simply, they are not very good. The owners have not gone out and spent any money in the free agent market, and the farm system has had trouble developing prospects to a competitive NHL level. It’s sad when fans are going to Toronto Raptors games before the Maple Leafs.
2nd Half – Goaltender Vesa Toskala has been the only bright spot on this miserable team. In his time in net, Toskala has a 2.69 GAA and kept his team in close games late into the third period. Captain center Mats Sundin is putting up his normal career stats, but may want to think about wrapping up his 16 year career after the season finishes because the Maple Leafs are not going to get better anytime soon.
Team Name: Toronto Maple Leafs (19-22-8)
Northeast Division Standing: 5th place
Conference Standing: T-13th place
Final Predictions: 5th in Northeast Division, 13th in Eastern Conference