nikita-soshnikov

Photo: Atlant-MO.ru

A few days after the Toronto Maple Leafs announced the signing of one of the KHL’s top young players Nikita Soshnikov from the Atlant Moscow Region, some interesting details about the move have come up.

Via Maple Leafs Hot Stove, here’s what Leafs’ Director of player personnel Mark Hunter had to say about the move.

We got a lead from Evgeny Namestnikov, who we hired as a scout for us over in Russia. He said come over to watch this young man who he liked a lot, who he coached.

The Maple Leafs hired Namestnikov, a former NHL player and father of current Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vlad, to scout for them while working as an assistant coach for Soshnikov’s Atlant. This went mostly unnoticed in North America, but Russia’s top hockey reporter Alexei Shevchenko, after confirming Namestnikov’s double affiliation, referred to situation as “awkward.”

I think what the Leafs did was an unfair practice and requires an NHL investigation regarding its legality and possibly prohibiting it in the future.

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happy-burra

Whoa, relax Andre. It’s just an NHL goal. 

We needed this. The Capitals had a rough week, but they capped it off with a steady victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night.

Alex Ovechkin was the guy. He scored on his very first shift, using the space allowed to him by a gracious Leafs defense to shoot from the slot. He scored again in the second, snatching Brooks Orpik’s rebound to put the Caps up two.

Marcus Johansson sidled up to the scoreboard with a backdoor tap-in in the third period. Joel Ward launched an ICBM from the Caps’ side of the ice to score an empty netter with five minutes left.

Caps beat Leafs 4-0. Slump busted. Holtby perfect.

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Caps vs Leafs Pregame: Look Out, You Rock and Rollers

bigdeal

Big deal, Curtis. Anyone can point at an Edmonton goalie.

The deadline isn’t until Monday afternoon, but the Washington Capitals might already be done. After acquiring Tim Gleason and Curtis Glencross, the Caps current roster might be the same one we see in the postseason. Or maybe not.

Tonight’s game, at home against the Maple Leafs, is the organization’s last chance to evaluate their players before all sales are final. 7 PM on CSN.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 33-20-10 51.5% 100.3 23.3% 81.1%
Toronto Maple Leafs 25-32-5 46.4% 100.0 18.5% 82.0%

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Nothing Can Stop Us Toniiiiight: Caps beat Leafs 6-2

Graig Abel

Perfect picture is perfect. (Photo: Graig Abel)

Setting the scene: One of the world’s best scorers in a foreign country on a team that has consistently failed to meet sky-high expectations. After hitting rock bottom in puck possession under their disastrous former coach, they’ve got renewed hopes.

I honestly forget what team I was writing about there, but here’s my recap of Wednesday’s Caps-Leafs game.

The Caps struck first as Evgeny Kuznetsov carved the Toronto defense to set up Marcus Johansson.

The Leafs returned fire in the second period with a tip-in goal by Daniel Winnik. Eric Fehr got a shorthanded goal with the help of Jay Beagle to put the Caps back in the lead, then Brooks Laich scored off an offensive-zone faceoff to make it 3-1. Toronto responded with a rebound goal by Trevor Smith, but Marcus Johansson got his second of the night a couple minutes later.

In the third, Eric Fehr got his second of the night as well. I haven’t seen Bernier stunned like that since the time someone asked him who Nelson Mandela was. Alex Ovechkin got the empty-netter and that was that.

Caps beat Leafs 6-2! Bailamos!

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Caps at Leafs Pregame: Phil the Thrill

For once, it’s not our team that’s the hot wreck. The Capitals, with their stable coach and winning record and improving possession, traveled to Toronto last night in anticipation of tonight’s game against the Maple Leafs, who just fired coach Randy Carlyle and are currently in the process of deciding whether or not they should maybe eat their young.

7 PM on CSN.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 20-11-7 52.0% 100.2 23.5% 78.9%
Toronto Maple Leafs 21-16-3 44.9% 101.7 20.1% 82.2%

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Leafs beat Caps 6-2: Farting on a Snare Drum

holtby

Pic by Ian Oland, who I am told wore pants today for the first time in a week.

I don’t wanna write about this junk.

Bad bounces and bad mistakes made the Caps’ road game against to Toronto Maple Leafs a torrid swamp of chumpswargle hockey. I made that word up.

It started innocently enough with a freak bounce of a goal by Morgan Rielly, but then Cody Franson got a sneaky shot from the outside during a Leafs power play to close out the first period.

Holtby took the net for the second and got punctured just 23 seconds in after a turnover by the Carlson-Orpik pairing. Troy Brouwer gave us a glimmer of hope with a hardworking PPG from the slot, but the Leafs answered back like .005 seconds later when freaking David freaking Carlson freaking scored. Tyler Bozak scored his second of the night on a power-play late in the second.

Justin Peters returned to the net in the third, because, why not? Tom Wilson put the biscuit in the basket, making this something less of an abject failure and more of a stupefying bummer. And then Lupul made it an abject failure again. What the heck even is this team?

Oh god it burns. Leafs beat Caps 6-2.

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pat-quinn-rememberance-toronto

Before the drop of the puck Saturday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted a stirring tribute to former coach Pat Quinn. Quinn, the second-winningest coach in Leafs’ history, died Sunday night in Vancouver after a long illness. He was 71.

The manic, gum-chewing disciplinarian coached the Leafs from 1998 to 2006 and took Toronto to the playoffs every year but his last. The Leafs went to the conference finals twice during his tenure. With Mats Sundin and Curtis Joseph, the team were always contenders in the East.

“Pat was exceptional,” said Barry Trotz to CSN Washington during intermission. “He had great presence and he commanded respect.”

The Leafs pulled out all the stops for the man who both played for the team and rooted for them growing up.

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Caps at Leafs Pregame: Don’t Play Down

carlyle

I really thought this dude would be gone by now.

The Caps have gone from playing the single worst team in the league, Buffalo, to one of the best, the Islanders, back to one of the worst, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Though they’ve got a better record than the Caps, that poor hockey club just cannot get its act together. Tonight at 7 PM on CSN and NHL Network, the Caps will play visitor to the Leafs.

This is one of those “don’t play down to a lesser opponent” situations. This is also one of those situations where you guys tell me “we are what our record says we are” and I roll my eyes.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 10-8-4 52.0% 98.2 28.6% 80.6%
Toronto Maple Leafs 11-8-3 47.8% 100.4 18.5% 84.2%

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Our friends at Maple Leafs Hot Stove reached out to us last night to ask about a worrisome rumor. Darren Dreger reported yesterday that Adam Oates is being considered for a position as assistant coach in Toronto. We’re still unsure there’s any substance to the rumor, but I shared my thoughts on what that might mean for the Maple Leafs. Call it my last chance to go to the well. Now here’s an absurdly large link:

Five Questions on Maple Leafs Assistant Coach candidate Adam Oates

Thanks to the guys at MLHS for having me again.

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Caps beat Leafs 4-2! Next Up: California!

Evan Vucci

Photo: Evan Vucci

I hate St. Patrick’s Day. My family is Irish as Feakle and I like Irish writing and the Corrs and stuff, but I hate leprechauns and boiled potatoes and corned beef. I was really hoping Washington Capitals vs Toronto Maple Leafs would be a short reprieve from the holiday and a happy kickoff to a huge week on the road for a Caps team barely holding on to playoff hopes. While we got a fantastic first period out of the home team, the rest of the game was a little dreary. Like Ireland.

The Caps came out literally on fire. Troy Brouwer got his 19th of the year from right up front. Jason Chimera kicked in yet another goal for his line with Fehr and Ward. And then Ward nailed a layup set up by Kuzya and Penner. The Leafs got one before the period was up– a lucky bounce into the slot and onto Troy Bodie’s stick–  but it was a dominant twenty minutes for the home team.

The second was the opposite. Dion Phaneuf released a long bomb that snuck through the top line and Orlov-Carrick pairing. Then the Leafs got three consecutive power plays that the Caps desperately killed off.

The Caps survived the third and shut down the Leafs’ comeback attempt when Jason Chimera drew a penalty on a breakaway. Troy Brouwer got the empty netter.

Caps beat Leafs 4-2!

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