Cross Checks: Toronto Maple Leafs

Watch: Will Arnett coaching the Maple Leafs

October, 29, 2014
Oct 29
There are plenty of questions surrounding the future of Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, but is Will Arnett ready for the job? The Leafs’ fan takes over the team for the day with some unique lineup decisions.

Josh Gorges Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY SportsJosh Gorges had a chance to go to the Leafs, but his heart wasn't in it. Think he wants a do-over?
TORONTO -- As Josh Gorges gets set to hear the boos from Toronto Maple Leafs fans Tuesday night, we are here to argue that people should be commending him for his raw honesty rather than questioning his decision.

In an era when we wish modern athletes would pretend to care about the uniform they're wearing like the players of yesteryear did, Gorges was saying just that when he turned down a proposed trade from the Montreal Canadiens to rival Toronto in the summer.

After giving his heart to the Canadiens for years, he simply could not envision emptying the emotional tank for the rival Leafs, whom he grew to hate because of the team he played for. He felt he would be cheating Toronto, frankly, by accepting that trade.

"I really, honestly believe that," Gorges said Tuesday after the morning skate at the Air Canada Centre before his Buffalo Sabres took on Toronto. "The only reason I ever got to this league is because I had to be a heart-and-soul guy, give-it-everything-I-got type of player. That's what gave me a good opportunity in Montreal all those years.

"Could I have given that to Toronto? Maybe over time, but I don't think I could have done it right away. And it wouldn't have been fair to them."

It's what Gorges told Brendan Shanahan when the Leafs president tried to sway the veteran defenseman to accept the deal.

"I told him when we spoke on the phone that, for me to be any type of good player for any team, 'I got to play with emotion, I got to play with heart, and I don’t know if I'd be doing you guys any favors by [accepting the deal]. And I don't know if I could live with myself as a person,'" said Gorges. "I believe that every day you come to work, you give it everything you got and you can feel good about yourself. If I come to a team where I don't feel like I'm giving everything I got, how do I feel at the end of the day? It's not a good feeling to come home and think, 'I kind of half-assed it tonight.' And so that played the majority of the part in my decision."

What Gorges didn't know at the time but would later find out is that his pal Cody Franson was potentially going the other way as part of the Habs-Leafs deal.

Franson rented a place right next door to Gorges over the summer in Kelowna, British Columbia, where many NHL players spend their summers, and the irony wasn't lost on either player.

"We talked a little bit ... but I don't want to say too much after that," Franson said, smiling, on Tuesday morning when asked how that conversation would have gone about the trade that nearly was.

At the time, Gorges was still in Montreal when all this was going down while Franson was in Kelowna.

"It was an interesting day," said Franson. "Those are tough rumors not to hear. Those are ones that show up right on your front door step, if you will. It comes down to what you can control. If they're going to make a move that they feel betters the team, they're going to do it. That's out of my hands. I just approached my day normally and kept my phone close."

Instead, Franson remained a Leaf and Gorges eventually accepted a deal to the Sabres, one of the teams that he added to his expanded "yes" list dictated by his limited no-trade clause.

The Sabres weren't the team that topped his list, perhaps, but he also didn't want the saga to drag on forever.

"After a few days of trying to get something to happen with teams that were on my list, at that point you're thinking, 'You can't keep doing this. You can't keep sitting in limbo,'" said Gorges. "At the time, my wife was five days away from giving birth. I didn't think we needed that kind of stress. So let's get it done."

One of the toughest parts was talking to all his friends on the Canadiens. Gorges was a very popular player in that room. It was hard to say goodbye.

"At the time, you're like, 'Why? What are the reasons? Why me?'" said Gorges of how his conversations went with Habs players after the trade. "But then you get to a point where it doesn't matter why. I don't need to know why. It doesn't do anything for me moving forward. You turn the page."

Fact is, for all the hype about Gorges’ game in Toronto on Tuesday night, the reality is his first game back in Montreal on Nov. 29 will be when the butterflies really get going.

"Coming back to Montreal for the first time will be more of an emotional game," said Gorges.

Besides, as far as the game here in Toronto, maybe Leafs fans have already forgotten.

"I doubt it," said Gorges, chuckling. "This is always an energetic building to play in. There's always lots of noise, lots of emotion. I expect nothing less tonight."

Gorges accepted his deal to the Sabres with eyes wide open. He knows they are rebuilding. But he also feels they are better than what they have shown to start the season.

"It's tough to lose anytime. You look at the start that we've had, it's not the one that we wanted at all," said Gorges. "So that's been tough to deal with because you want to win. But at the same time, I think we all understand that there's room for improvement and that's a good thing.

"If we thought this was the best we could play and we lose, then you're in trouble. But I think this team has a lot more to give and a lot more to show. And I think that's promising. We can turn this around and start moving in the right direction."

Atlantic Division wrap

October, 13, 2014
Oct 13
Trending up
  • Habs on fire: Strong start out of the gate for the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs have rattled off three straight wins to begin their 2014-15 campaign, including opening night against the Toronto Maple Leafs and two shootout victories over the weekend.
  • Plekanec putting up points: The production of Tomas Plekanec has helped lead the charge for the Habs. The veteran center is tied for first in the league with four goals following the first week of action.
  • Leafs looking better: After faltering in their first two games of the season, the Leafs rallied back to secure their first win of the season with a 6-3 rout against the defending Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers Sunday night. It was a three-point night for Phil Kessel as Toronto chased goaltender Henrik Lundqvist from net.
Trending down
  • Bruins stumbling: It has not been an ideal start for coach Claude Julien and his Boston Bruins squad. Regarded as one of the teams to beat in the East, the team has dropped two of its first three games. Playing without top-line center David Krejci isn’t helping matters.
  • Beleaguered Sabres: You have to feel for Sabres netminder Jhonas Enroth, who has been under siege for the first two games of the season. The 26-year-old Swede has faced 87 shots in the first two games after earning the starting job in training camp.
Injury update
  • Krejci on the mend: After missing the first three games of the season, Krejci appears poised to make his return to the Bruins' lineup this week. The top pivot has been practicing with the team following an undisclosed injury sustained in the club’s preseason finale.
  • Datsyuk still out: Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk has yet to be cleared for contact as he remains out with a shoulder injury that was expected to sideline him four weeks.
  • Drouin anxiously awaiting debut: The Tampa Bay Lightning appear to be erring on the side of caution with top prospect Jonathan Drouin, who suffered a slight fracture in his right thumb. He’s hoping to make his way into the lineup soon and may have a shot this week.
What to watch for
  • Rivals reunited: Remember the last time the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens shared the ice? That would be the now-infamous handshake line following their meeting in the Eastern Conference semifinals last spring. Some harsh words were exchanged and you can expect that bad blood to resurface when the rivals reconvene Thursday night in Montreal.
  • Ekblad’s progression: Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant raved about 2014 No. 1 pick Aaron Ekblad's NHL debut Thursday, telling reporters that the highly touted defenseman had an “excellent” first game. The rookie will get at least a nine-game look from Panthers management before the team decides whether to keep him around.

Five biggest opening-week surprises

October, 11, 2014
Oct 11
It's that time again, hockey fans. The 2014-15 NHL season is finally underway, which means we can shelve our preseason projections (some of which we will surely cringe about later) and start to delve into the real action. Let’s start with some of the opening-week surprises around the league. Take a look at our Top 5 right here:

1. Carving out a spot
[+] EnlargeAndre Burakovsky
Patrick McDermott/NHLI/Getty ImagesThe Capitals' Andre Burakovsky, 19, scored a goal in his first NHL game on Thursday night.
A number of youngsters found a spot on their respective club’s opening-night rosters, despite the odds being against them. Despite all the talk about promising young blueliners Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko and Ryan Sproul, it was actually 23-year-old forward Andrej Nestrasil who found himself in the Detroit Red Wings' opening-night lineup. Though his NHL debut was influenced by the injury to Pavel Datsyuk, the young Czech winger made quite the impression in camp. The same goes for 19-year-old Andre Burakovsky, who transitioned from his natural wing position to center in camp with the Washington Capitals. He responded with a goal in the Caps’ 2-1 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. The Toronto Maple Leafs' Brandon Kozun was a complete long shot, but there he was on a line with Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri when the team opened against Montreal on Wednesday. And 19-year-old Anthony Duclair was so good in camp for the New York Rangers that general manager Glen Sather and Co. were forced to shuffle their roster to accommodate his arrival, making a two-for-one minor-league deal that allowed the team to not surpass the 50-contract maximum.

2. Fighters on the fringe
With teams trimming players to get down to their 23-man roster in advance of opening night, some tough guys find themselves without a spot. Though both Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren have been deployed by Toronto in recent years, the Leafs appear to feel differently about the necessity of truculence in their lineup. Team president Brendan Shanahan said he wants the Leafs to be a team that possesses the puck more, and that means they want guys who bring more to the table than fighting. Perhaps more surprising is that Broad Street will be devoid of any bullies, at least to start the season. Though Zac Rinaldo straddles the line between antagonist and brawler, pure pugilist Jay Rosehill was cut by the Philadelphia Flyers -- a clear deviation from the long-entrenched culture in Philly.

3. Pronger lands new gig
Unable to officially retire because of the salary cap implications on the Flyers, defenseman Chris Pronger has found a new role with the NHL's Department of Player Safety. Oh, the irony is delicious, isn’t it? Besides the inherent conflict of interest that has some people balking about the hire (Pronger remains on the Flyers’ long-term injured reserve list and is still being paid by Philly), there is the fact that he wasn’t exactly a choirboy when he was patrolling the blue line during his playing days. One former player marveled at the move, incredulous that someone who has over 1,500 career penalty minutes and a questionable reputation will now be doling out discipline, telling “I have no problem with the conflict of interest. But take a look on YouTube at some of his hits.”

4. Sharks look sharp
Despite a summer pockmarked by controversy and dysfunction, the San Jose Sharks looked solid and cohesive in the club’s 4-0 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night. Even though veterans Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were stripped of their leadership positions during the offseason, both players found themselves wearing A's Friday night, along with Joe Pavelski (with defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic slated to rotate in during the season). Even the team’s starting goaltender was a bit of a surprise, with many people expecting Alex Stalock to unseat Antti Niemi as the No. 1 guy. But, coach Todd McLellan said he was sticking with "Nemo," and the decision was a good one. Niemi made 34 saves to record his first shutout of the season. After all the years the Sharks have failed to live up to expectations in the playoffs, wouldn’t it be oddly poetic for this to actually be their year, when practically everyone predicted them to faceplant?

5. Gibson lit up
For all the talk of John Gibson being the goaltender of the future for the Anaheim Ducks, the 21-year-old got lit up in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Gibson gave up six goals on 39 shots in the Ducks’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game in which Sidney Crosby scored twice and second-year defenseman Olli Maatta chipped in with three points. Not even a hat trick from Corey Perry could salvage a point for the Ducks, who have lofty expectations heading into the season after adding Ryan Kesler via trade this summer. Tough way to start the season for Gibson, but this will be a good test of his resilience going forward. What better way to see what the kid has got? Not to mention that the Ducks have Frederik Andersen waiting in the wings.

It was only one game, but opening the season with a convincing victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions in Los Angeles is about the best way possible to help turn the page on a summer full of drama for the San Jose Sharks.

Just playing games again should help change the focus from all that has transpired.

"Yeah, it’s just nice to play games now," Sharks star Joe Thornton told Thursday. "All that stuff that happened in the offseason is finally over. And now we can just play hockey."

The summer’s lowlight for Thornton was getting the captaincy stripped. Veteran teammate Patrick Marleau also had his alternate captain's "A" taken away.

But when they hit the ice for warm-ups Wednesday night, there was Thornton and Marleau each wearing an "A" as one of the four alternates for the season, along with Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Interesting, right?

"They want Patty and me to be part of the leadership group again, which is certainly cool by us," said Thornton.

What matters most to Thornton is that his own teammates wanted him to get a letter.

As Vlasic explained to, the players on the team were involved in giving feedback to the coaching staff, and it resulted in identifying a number of leadership candidates, not just the four players who ultimately received an "A," but also guys such as Logan Couture, Scott Hannan and Tommy Wingels.

"We waited until warm-up yesterday to put the actual letters on the sweaters, but we had been working on it throughout training camp," Vlasic said. "The coaching staff wanted to get feedback from the players to see what they thought. We were working on it until the very end. I think we did a good job with what we decided.

"Obviously we only have four players wearing letters, but Couts [Couture] has as much responsibility as us because the players believe in him. The players believe in other players as well, even though they don’t have letters on their sweaters. We took our time and we made a good decision. And you know, we could have a captain within the next couple of weeks, the next couple of months, there would be a captain eventually named."

[+] EnlargeNathan MacKinnon
Frederick Breedon/Getty ImagesNathan MacKinnon is working hard at improving on faceoffs in the hopes of moving back to center.
Interesting to see Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy decide to move Nathan MacKinnon to the wing to start the season and play Ryan O'Reilly at center on that line.

There was no hiding MacKinnon’s excitement last month at the players' tour in New York when he talked about going back to his natural center position this season.

And certainly, he may very well end up back at center soon enough. But for now, he starts on the wing -- not that the kid would ever complain.

"It’s not that big a deal, I think the media is making it bigger than how we feel about it internally as an organization," Roy told in French on Thursday.

Roy explained the move in saying O'Reilly is strong on faceoffs, which should help that line in terms of puck control off the draw. But once the puck is dropped, Roy says, MacKinnon still has lots of freedom around the ice to do his thing.

"And who knows, if he isn’t back at center in a couple of weeks, I mean, it’s not a big deal," Roy said. "It just means we’ve got different options on that line."

MacKinnon continues to work hard at faceoffs in practice. It reminds me of when a young Sidney Crosby made such an effort to improve himself in that area as well.

Nazem Kadri's goal Wednesday night resulted from a zone entry that was offside.

It’s a play that remains outside the scope of video review, at least for this season.

But a league source confirmed Thursday that the hockey operations department is cataloging those types of plays and will present to the general managers at the November and March meetings clips of plays that could be handled with expanded video review. The Kadri goal is already part of what will be a long file of clips. It’s as if there’s a shadow video operation happening all season. It’s a neat idea.

It could result in a coach’s challenge, long debated, finally becoming reality next season.

Veteran winger Erik Cole had a strong training camp with the Dallas Stars and was slated to start the season on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.

But he was in street clothes Thursday night when the Stars opened their season against the Chicago Blackhawks, scratched by coach Lindy Ruff because he missed a team practice Monday.

Cole had flown home to see his family in Raleigh, North Carolina, and his flight back to Dallas on Monday was apparently delayed.

This is a team trying to become a contender, and this was the coach sending a message to the whole team with his decision on Cole.

TORONTO -- If you believe in symbolism on opening night, the Montreal Canadiens couldn't have scripted any better.

All four goals were scored by alternate captains -- the sport's most iconic franchise going without an actual captain this season, a decision that wasn't universally well-received in the hockey-crazed market.

It fueled a common talking point all training camp long: with the offseason departures of captain Brian Gionta, vocal assistant Josh Gorges and respected veteran Daniel Briere, among others, would the young Habs overcome the leadership void?

It's only one night, of course, but the alternate captains made one heck of a statement in Wednesday's 4-3 thriller over the host Toronto Maple Leafs: Max Pacioretty scored 4:42 into the season on a beauty of a rush that left Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf in his wake; Tomas Plekanec had a pair of goals on a night where he was an absolute beast, from the penalty kill to his 59 percent success rate in the faceoff circle; and P.K. Subban scored a big third-period goal and was electric all night long.

The fourth alternate captain, veteran Andrei Markov, was solid as well in leading the team with a game-high 26:17 minutes while helping to shut down Phil Kessel.

Who needs a captain when your four alternates play like that, right?

"Good call by the coaches, I guess, by management," smiled Plekanec, whose bank-shot goal with 43 seconds left gave Montreal the win.

Plekanec was a man possessed, easily the best player on either team, as reflected by being named the game’s first star. The Leafs could barely touch the puck when his line with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher was on the ice.

[+] EnlargePlekanec
AP Photo/Darren CalabreseThe Canadiens, led by Tomas Plekanec, didn't seem to have a leadership void on opening night.

It's a reminder of just how important Plekanec remains on this team, despite the obvious growth plan of this team around the younger core.

The 31-year-old Czech center could easily have deserved the captaincy on his own. But he'd be the last guy to complain.

"Obviously, it's a great honor when you're talking about the captain of the Montreal Canadiens," said Plekanec. "Being in Montreal so long, I guess, a lot of people saw me as a top candidate. But I think they made a good call by going with the four A's. We'll figure it out next year."

Another key leader on this team, stud goalie Carey Price, had an interesting answer when asked by after his media scrum following Wednesday's game who was one of the more vocal players in the room between periods in the opening game.

"Manny, for sure, Manny Malhotra," said the Olympic champion goaltender.

The 34-year-old newcomer didn't get an "A" on his uniform, but it's clear from Price's comments that Malhotra will also have a major role to play in helping feel that leadership void.

But the most pleasing sight for the head coach? Michel Therrien, when asked about his alternate captains, directed his heaviest praise for one particular player.

"I thought P.K. was really good. He [made the] right decisions, jumped in the play at the right time. That's a good sign of maturity," Therrien said. "This is what we’re looking for with his game. He looked like a real quarterback for us tonight."

Playing in his first game since signing an eight-year, $72 million contract during the offseason, Subban looked carefree and
confident as he dangled in and out of traffic and controlled large moments of the game.

Looks like the $9 million man is going to be all right.

"Our attention to detail, just paying attention to the details in our structure, I thought guys did it well," Subban said of his team's game, deflecting individual praise. "And the times we didn't do it, there were guys on the bench letting guys know, saying, 'Hey, you've got to be better.' I said it at the start of the year: We need 22 leaders, not four. Today it seemed like there was no passengers on our team. Everybody was held accountable, and everybody was holding themselves accountable and doing what they're supposed to do."

If you're looking for signs of a young team responding to adversity, what better example than the Canadiens coming right back 96 seconds after the Leafs tied the game 3-3 on a fluky goal by getting one of their own bank goals to win it.

There were no evident signs of panic, despite the bedlam at Air Canada Centre when Morgan Rielly's goal tied it late for the Leafs.

"We're a resilient group in here," Subban said. "It doesn't surprise me that we came right back. We know how important the first shift is after you score a goal and after you give up a goal. I'm happy with the way our team played today."

Kozun, Percy impress
Leafs rookie Brandon Kozun did not look out of place in his first NHL game, using his speed and getting his first NHL point when his shot from the slot was redirected by Nazem Kadri.

"I would've felt better if we won the game," Kozun said of getting his first NHL point. "I think I can be better," he added of his overall game.

"I don’t know, I just don't think I had as much jump as I usually have."

The kid's being hard on himself; I didn't think he was too bad at all.

Blueliner Stuart Percy also looked good in his first NHL game, showing poise with the puck. He’s not flashy, but he makes good decisions.

"I thought Percy was very good," Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said. "He plays well above his age. I thought that he, not only on the goal, but the way that he moves the puck out of our zone, the patience that he has ... he's a really good player for a young guy coming into the league. I think he showed that he's a very mature player, especially coming out of the defensive zone moving the puck and having the patience to do that. It’s not easy to do that in this league."

Tokarski goes Thursday
Therrien said backup netminder Dustin Tokarski would start Thursday night's game in Washington as the Habs open with back-to-back games.

Offseason player movement of all 30 teams

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
Ryan Kesler and Paul Stastny USA TODAY SportsRyan Kesler and Paul Stastny will be wearing different colors this season.
Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
June 14: Acquired C Louis Leblanc from Montreal for a conditional pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
June 27: Acquired C Ryan Kesler and a 3rd-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft from Vancouver for C Nick Bonino, D Luca Sbisa, and Anaheim’s 1st- and 3rd-round picks in 2014.
June 30: Acquired C Nate Thompson from Tampa Bay for Tampa Bay’s 4th- and 7th-round picks in the 2015 NHL Draft.
July 1: Signed D Clayton Stoner (Minnesota) and G Jason LaBarbera (Chicago).
July 9: Signed LW Dany Heatley (Minnesota).
Offseason Departures
RW Teemu Selanne (retired); C Saku Koivu (retired); C Nick Bonino (traded to Vancouver); D Luca Sbisa (traded to Vancouver); D Stephane Robidas (unrestricted free agent, signed by Toronto); G Jonas Hiller (unrestricted free agent, signed by Calgary); C Mathieu Perreault (unrestricted free agent, signed by Winnipeg); C Daniel Winnik (unrestricted free agent, signed by Toronto); C David Steckel (unrestricted free agent); D Nolan Yonkman (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
June 29: Acquired C Sam Gagner and RW B.J. Crombeen from Tampa Bay for a 6th-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
July 1: Signed C Joe Vitale (Pittsburgh), G Devan Dubnyk (Montreal), G Mike McKenna (Columbus) and D Andrew Campbell (Los Angeles).
Offseason Departures
C Mike Ribeiro (unrestricted free agent, signed by Nashville); RW Radim Vrbata (unrestricted free agent, signed by Vancouver); G Thomas Greiss (unrestricted free agent, signed by Pittsburgh); C Andy Miele (unrestricted free agent, signed by Detroit); LW Tim Kennedy (unrestricted free agent, signed by Washington); LW Paul Bissonnette (unrestricted free agent); C Jeff Halpern (unrestricted free agent); D Derek Morris (unrestricted free agent); RW Brandon Yip (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
July 1: Signed D Christopher Breen (Calgary).
Offseason Departures
RW Jarome Iginla (unrestricted free agent, signed by Colorado); D Andrej Meszaros (unrestricted free agent, signed by Buffalo); LW Shawn Thornton (unrestricted free agent, signed by Florida); G Chad Johnson (unrestricted free agent, signed NY Islanders); D Corey Potter (unrestricted free agent, signed by Calgary); RW Nick Johnson (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
July 1: Signed RW Brian Gionta (Montreal), LW Matt Moulson (Minnesota), D Andrej Meszaros (Boston) and C Cody McCormick (Minnesota).
July 1: Acquired D Josh Gorges from Montreal for a 2nd-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
July 3: Signed D Tyson Strachan (Washington).
July 13: Signed C Zac Dalpe (Vancouver).
July 23: Signed D Andre Benoit (Colorado).
Offseason Departures
D Christian Ehrhoff (unrestricted free agent, signed by Pittsburgh); C Kevin Porter (unrestricted free agent, signed by Detroit); C Cory Conacher (unrestricted free agent, signed by NY Islanders); LW John Scott (unrestricted free agent, signed by San Jose); RW Matt D’Agostini (unrestricted free agent); C Zenon Konopka (unrestricted free agent); LW Ville Leino (unrestricted free agent); D Jamie McBain (unrestricted free agent); D Alexander Sulzer (unrestricted free agent); D Henrik Tallinder (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
April 28: Named Brad Treliving general manager.
June 28: Acquired LW Brandon Bollig from Chicago for a 3rd-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
July 1: Signed LW Mason Raymond (Toronto), D Deryk Engelland (Pittsburgh) and G Jonas Hiller (Anaheim).
Aug. 23: Signed RW Devin Setoguchi (Winnipeg).
Sept. 5: Signed D Corey Potter (Boston).
Offseason Departures
LW Mike Cammalleri (unrestricted free agent, signed by New Jersey); C Ben Street (unrestricted free agent, signed by Colorado); G Joey MacDonald (unrestricted free agent, signed by Montreal); D Chris Butler (unrestricted free agent, signed by St. Louis); D Christopher Breen (unrestricted free agent, signed by Boston); LW T.J. Galiardi (unrestricted free agent, signed by Winnipeg); C Blair Jones (unrestricted free agent, signed by Philadelphia); D Shane O’Brien (unrestricted free agent); D Derek Smith (unrestricted free agent); RW Kevin Westgarth (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
April 28: Named Ron Francis general manager.
June 19: Named Bill Peters head coach.
July 1: Signed C Brad Malone (Colorado) and G Drew MacIntyre (Toronto).
July 2: Signed C Jay McClement.
July 3: Signed D Tim Gleason.
Offseason Departures
G Justin Peters (unrestricted free agent, signed by Washington); C Manny Malhotra (unrestricted free agent, signed by Montreal); LW Brett Sutter (unrestricted free agent, signed by Minnesota); LW Drayson Bowman (unrestricted free agent); RW Radek Dvorak (unrestricted free agent); D Mike Komisarek (unrestricted free agent); C Andrei Loktionov (unrestricted free agent); RW Aaron Palushaj (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
July 1: Signed C Brad Richards (NY Rangers), C Cody Bass (Columbus) and LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie (Tampa Bay).
July 2: Signed D Kyle Cumiskey (Modo, Sweden).
Aug. 18: Signed G Michael Leighton (HC Donbass, KHL).
Offseason Departures
LW Brandon Bollig (traded to Calgary); G Jason LaBarbera (unrestricted free agent, signed by Anaheim); G Nikolai Khabibulin (unrestricted free agent); D Sheldon Brookbank (unrestricted free agent); C Michal Handzus (unrestricted free agent); C Brad Mills (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
June 30: Acquired C Daniel Briere from Montreal for RW PA Parenteau and a 5th-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
July 1: Acquired D Brad Stuart from San Jose for a 2nd-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and a 6th-round pick in 2017.
July 1: Signed RW Jarome Iginla (Boston), D Zach Redmond (Winnipeg), D Bruno Gervais (Philadelphia), C Jesse Winchester (Florida) and C Ben Street (Calgary).
Offseason Departures
RW PA Parenteau (traded to Montreal); C Paul Stastny (unrestricted free agent, signed by St. Louis); D Andre Benoit (unrestricted free agent, signed by Buffalo); C Brad Malone (unrestricted free agent, signed by Carolina); LW David Van der Gulik (unrestricted free agent, signed by Los Angeles); D Matt Hunwick (unrestricted free agent, signed by NY Rangers); G Jean-Sebastien Giguere (retired); D Cory Sarich (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
June 23: Acquired LW Scott Hartnell from Philadelphia for LW R.J. Umberger and a 4th-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
July 1: Acquired RW Jerry D’Amigo and a conditional pick in the 2015 NHL Draft from Toronto for RW Matt Frattin.
July 4: Signed C Brian Gibbons (Pittsburgh).
Offseason Departures
LW R.J. Umberger (traded to Philadelphia); D Nikita Nikitin (traded to Edmonton); RW Matt Frattin (traded to Toronto); C Derek MacKenzie (unrestricted free agent, signed by Florida); RW Jack Skille (unrestricted free agent, signed by NY Islanders); D Nick Schultz (unrestricted free agent, signed by Philadelphia); LW Blake Comeau (unrestricted free agent, signed by Pittsburgh); C Cody Bass (unrestricted free agent, signed by Chicago); G Mike McKenna (unrestricted free agent, signed by Arizona).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
July 1: Acquired C Jason Spezza and RW Ludwig Karlsson from Ottawa for RW Alex Chiasson, LW Nick Paul, LW Alex Guptill and a 2nd-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
July 1: Signed G Anders Lindback (Tampa Bay), RW Ales Hemsky (Ottawa) and RW Patrick Eaves (Nashville).
Offseason Departures
RW Alex Chiasson (traded to Ottawa); C Chris Mueller (unrestricted free agent, signed by NY Rangers); C Dustin Jeffrey (unrestricted free agent, signed by Vancouver); D Maxime Fortunus (unrestricted free agent); LW Ray Whitney (unrestricted free agent); D Aaron Rome (unrestricted free agent); G Tim Thomas (unrestricted free agent); G Cristopher Nilstorp (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
July 1: Signed C Kevin Porter (Buffalo).
July 2: Signed C Andy Miele (Arizona).
Offseason Departures
C David Legwand (unrestricted free agent, signed by Ottawa); RW Daniel Alfredsson (unrestricted free agent); RW Todd Bertuzzi (unrestricted free agent); C Cory Emmerton (unrestricted free agent); RW Mikael Samuelsson (unrestricted free agent); RW Jordin Tootoo (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
June 25: Acquired D Nikita Nikitin from Columbus for a 5th-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
June 29: Acquired RW Teddy Purcell from Tampa Bay for C Sam Gagner.
July 1: Signed D Mark Fayne (New Jersey), LW Benoit Pouliot (NY Rangers) and D Keith Aulie (Tampa Bay).
Offseason Departures
LW Ryan Smyth (retired); C Sam Gagner (traded to Tampa Bay); D Taylor Fedun (unrestricted free agent, signed by San Jose); D Anton Belov (unrestricted free agent); LW Ben Eager (unrestricted free agent); D Mark Fraser (unrestricted free agent); D Denis Grebeshkov (unrestricted free agent); LW Ryan Jones (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
June 21: Named Gerard Gallant head coach.
July 1: Signed C Dave Bolland (Toronto), LW Jussi Jokinen (Pittsburgh), LW Shawn Thornton (Boston), C Derek MacKenzie (Columbus), D Willie Mitchell (Los Angeles) and G Al Montoya (Winnipeg).
Offseason Departures
D Tom Gilbert (unrestricted free agent, signed by Montreal); C Jesse Winchester (unrestricted free agent, signed by Colorado); G Scott Clemmensen (unrestricted free agent, signed by New Jersey); RW Krys Barch (unrestricted free agent); D Matt Gilroy (unrestricted free agent); C Scott Gomez (unrestricted free agent); D Ed Jovanovski (unrestricted free agent); D Ryan Whitney (unrestricted free agent); D Mike Mottau (retired).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
July 1: Signed RW Adam Cracknell (St. Louis) and LW David Van der Gulik (Colorado).
Offseason Departures
RW Linden Vey (traded to Vancouver); D Willie Mitchell (unrestricted free agent, signed by Florida); D Andrew Campbell (unrestricted free agent, signed by Arizona); C Colin Fraser (unrestricted free agent, signed by St. Louis).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
July 1: Signed LW Thomas Vanek (Montreal), D Stu Bickel (NY Rangers) and LW Brett Sutter (Carolina).
July 11: Signed C Jordan Schroeder (Vancouver).
Aug. 1: Signed D Justin Falk (NY Rangers).
Offseason Departures
LW Matt Moulson (unrestricted free agent, signed by Buffalo); D Clayton Stoner (unrestricted free agent, signed by Anaheim); LW Dany Heatley (unrestricted free agent, signed by Anaheim); D Nate Prosser (unrestricted free agent, signed by St. Louis); C Cody McCormick (unrestricted free agent, signed by Buffalo); G Ilya Bryzgalov (unrestricted free agent); C Jake Dowell (unrestricted free agent); RW Carson McMillan (unrestricted free agent); LW Mike Rupp (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
June 30: Acquired RW PA Parenteau and a 5th-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft from Colorado for C Daniel Briere.
July 1: Signed C Manny Malhotra (Carolina), D Tom Gilbert (Florida) and G Joey MacDonald (Calgary).
Offseason Departures
C Daniel Briere (traded to Colorado); D Josh Gorges (traded to Buffalo); C Louis Leblanc (traded to Anaheim); LW Thomas Vanek (unrestricted free agent, signed by Minnesota); RW Brian Gionta (unrestricted free agent, signed by Buffalo); G Devan Dubnyk (unrestricted free agent, signed by Arizona); RW Mike Blunden (unrestricted free agent, signed by Tampa Bay); C Ryan White (unrestricted free agent, signed by Philadelphia); D Francis Bouillon (unrestricted free agent); D Douglas Murray (unrestricted free agent); RW George Parros (unrestricted free agent); C Martin St. Pierre (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
May 6: Named Peter Laviolette head coach.
June 27: Acquired LW James Neal from Pittsburgh for RW Patric Hornqvist and C Nick Spaling.
July 2: Signed C Olli Jokinen (Winnipeg).
July 7: Signed D Anton Volchenkov (New Jersey).
July 15: Signed C Mike Ribeiro (Arizona) and C Derek Roy (St. Louis).
Offseason Departures
RW Patric Hornqvist (traded to Pittsburgh); C Nick Spaling (traded to Pittsburgh); RW Patrick Eaves (unrestricted free agent, signed by Dallas); D Michael Del Zotto (unrestricted free agent, signed by Philadelphia).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
July 1: Signed LW Mike Cammalleri (Calgary), RW Martin Havlat (San Jose) and G Scott Clemmensen (Florida).
Offseason Departures
D Mark Fayne (unrestricted free agent, signed by Edmonton); D Anton Volchenkov (unrestricted free agent, signed by Nashville); G Martin Brodeur (unrestricted free agent); LW Ryan Carter (unrestricted free agent); LW Rostislav Olesz (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
May 1: Acquired G Jaroslav Halak from Washington for a 4th-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
July 1: Signed G Chad Johnson (Boston), C Cory Conacher (Buffalo), RW Jack Skille (Columbus) and LW Harry Zolnierczyk (Pittsburgh).
July 2: Signed C Mikhail Grabovski (Washington) and LW Nikolai Kulemin (Toronto).
Offseason Departures
G Evgeni Nabokov (unrestricted free agent, signed by Tampa Bay); D Radek Martinek (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
July 1: Signed D Dan Boyle (NY Islanders), D Mike Kostka (Tampa Bay), D Matt Hunwick (Colorado), C Chris Mueller (Dallas), LW Tanner Glass (Pittsburgh) and G Cedrick Desjardins (Tampa Bay).
July 16: Signed C Matthew Lombardi (HC Geneve-Servette, Switzerland).
July 19: Signed RW Lee Stempniak (Pittsburgh).
Sept. 11: Signed LW Ryan Malone (Tampa Bay).
Offseason Departures
RW Derek Dorsett (traded to Vancouver); C Brad Richards (unrestricted free agent, signed by Chicago); C Brian Boyle (unrestricted free agent, signed by Tampa Bay); D Anton Stralman (unrestricted free agent, signed by Tampa Bay); LW Benoit Pouliot (unrestricted free agent, signed by Edmonton); D Justin Falk (unrestricted free agent, signed by Minnesota); RW Arron Asham (unrestricted free agent); LW Daniel Carcillo (unrestricted free agent); D Raphael Diaz (unrestricted free agent); C Darroll Powe (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
July 1: Acquired RW Alex Chiasson, LW Nick Paul, LW Alex Guptill and a 2nd-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft from Dallas for C Jason Spezza and RW Ludwig Karlsson.
July 4: Signed C David Legwand (Detroit).
Offseason Departures
C Jason Spezza (traded to Dallas); RW Ales Hemsky (unrestricted free agent, signed by Dallas); D Joe Corvo (unrestricted free agent); LW Matt Kassian (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
May 7: Named Ron Hextall general manager.
June 23: Acquired LW R.J. Umberger and a 4th-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft from Columbus for LW Scott Hartnell.
July 1: Signed C Blair Jones (Calgary).
July 2: Signed D Nick Schultz (Columbus).
Aug. 5: Signed D Michael Del Zotto (Nashville).
Aug. 7: Signed C Ryan White (Montreal)
Offseason Departures
LW Scott Hartnell (traded to Columbus); LW Tye McGinn (traded to San Jose); RW Steve Downie (unrestricted free agent, signed by Pittsburgh); C Kris Newbury (unrestricted free agent, signed by Washington); D Hal Gill (unrestricted free agent); RW Adam Hall (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
June 6: Named Jim Rutherford general manager.
June 25: Named Mike Johnston head coach.
June 27: Acquired RW Patric Hornqvist and C Nick Spaling from Nashville for LW James Neal.
July 1: Signed D Christian Ehrhoff (Buffalo), G Thomas Greiss (Arizona) and LW Blake Comeau (Columbus).
July 2: Signed RW Steve Downie (Philadelphia).
Offseason Departures
LW James Neal (traded to Nashville); D Matt Niskanen (unrestricted free agent, signed by Washington); D Brooks Orpik (unrestricted free agent, signed by Washington); C Joe Vitale (unrestricted free agent, signed by Arizona); D Deryk Engelland (unrestricted free agent, signed by Pittsburgh); C Brian Gibbons (unrestricted free agent, signed by Columbus); LW Jussi Jokinen (unrestricted free agent, signed by Florida); LW Harry Zolnierczyk (unrestricted free agent, signed by NY Islanders); LW Tanner Glass (unrestricted free agent, signed by NY Rangers); RW Lee Stempniak (unrestricted free agent, signed by NY Rangers); RW Chris Conner (unrestricted free agent, signed by Washington); G Tomas Vokoun (unrestricted free agent); RW Chuck Kobasew (unrestricted free agent); LW Taylor Pyatt (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
July 1: Signed LW John Scott (Buffalo) and D Taylor Fedun (Edmonton).
July 2: Acquired LW Tye McGinn from Philadelphia for a 3rd-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Offseason Departures
D Brad Stuart (traded to Colorado); D Dan Boyle (traded to NY Islanders); RW Martin Havlat (unrestricted free agent, signed by New Jersey); LW John McCarthy (unrestricted free agent, signed by St. Louis); LW Bracken Kearns (unrestricted free agent); RW Matt Pelech (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
June 28: Acquired D Carl Gunnarsson and a 4th-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft from Toronto for D Roman Polak.
July 1: Signed C Paul Stastny (Colorado) and C Jori Lehtera (Sibir Novosibirsk, KHL).
July 4: Signed LW John McCarthy (San Jose).
July 16: Signed D Chris Butler (Calgary) and RW Benn Ferriero (Vancouver).
July 21: Signed C Jeremy Welsh (Vancouver).
July 22: Signed D Nate Prosser (Minnesota).
July 29: Signed C Peter Mueller (Kloten, Switzerland).
Sept. 5: Signed C Colin Fraser (Los Angeles).
Offseason Departures
D Roman Polak (traded to Toronto); C Derek Roy (unrestricted free agent, signed by Nashville); LW Brenden Morrow (unrestricted free agent, signed by Tampa Bay); RW Adam Cracknell (unrestricted free agent, signed by Los Angeles); G Ryan Miller (unrestricted free agent, signed by Vancouver); LW Vladimir Sobotka (restricted free agent, signed by KHL Avangard Omsk); C Keith Aucoin (unrestricted free agent); D Carlo Colaiacovo (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
June 27: Acquired D Jason Garrison, LW Jeff Costello and a 7th-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft from Vancouver for a 2nd-round pick in 2014.
July 1: Signed D Anton Stralman (NY Rangers), C Brian Boyle (NY Rangers), G Evgeni Nabokov (NY Islanders) and RW Mike Blunden (Montreal).
July 11: Signed LW Brenden Morrow (St. Louis).
Offseason Departures
C Nate Thompson (traded to Anaheim); RW B.J. Crombeen (traded to Arizona); RW Teddy Purcell (traded to Edmonton); G Anders Lindback (unrestricted free agent, signed by Dallas); D Keith Aulie (unrestricted free agent, signed by Edmonton); D Mike Kostka (unrestricted free agent, signed by NY Rangers); G Cedrick Desjardins (unrestricted free agent, signed by NY Rangers); LW Ryan Malone (unrestricted free agent, signed by NY Rangers); LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie (unrestricted free agent, signed by Chicago); C Tom Pyatt (unrestricted free agent); D Sami Salo (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
June 28: Acquired D Roman Polak from St. Louis for D Carl Gunnarsson and a 4th-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
July 1: Acquired RW Matt Frattin from Columbus for RW Jerry D’Amigo and a conditional pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
July 1: Signed D Stephane Robidas (Anaheim) and C Leo Komarov (Dynamo Moscow, KHL).
July 3: Signed C Mike Santorelli (Vancouver) and C Petri Kontiola (Traktor Chelyabinsk, KHL).
July 22: Signed LW David Booth (Vancouver).
July 28: Signed C Daniel Winnik (Anaheim).
Offseason Departures
D Carl Gunnarsson (traded to St. Louis); RW Jerry D’Amigo (traded to Columbus); LW Mason Raymond (unrestricted free agent, signed by Calgary); G Drew MacIntyre (unrestricted free agent, signed by Carolina); C Jay McClement (unrestricted free agent, signed by Carolina); D Tim Gleason (unrestricted free agent, signed by Carolina); C Dave Bolland (unrestricted free agent, signed by Florida); LW Nikolai Kulemin (unrestricted free agent, signed by NY Islanders); D Paul Ranger (unrestricted free agent); C Jarred Smithson (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
May 21: Named Jim Benning general manager.
June 23: Named Willie Desjardins head coach.
June 27: Acquired C Nick Bonino, D Luca Sbisa and Anaheim’s 1st- and 3rd-round picks in the 2014 NHL Draft from Anaheim for C Ryan Kesler and a 3rd-round pick in 2015.
June 27: Acquired RW Derek Dorsett from NY Rangers for a 3rd-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
June 28: Acquired RW Linden Vey from Los Angeles for a 2nd-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
July 1: Signed G Ryan Miller (St. Louis).
July 2: Signed C Dustin Jeffrey (Dallas).
July 3: Signed RW Radim Vrbata (Arizona).
Offseason Departures
C Ryan Kesler (traded to Anaheim); D Jason Garrison (traded to Tampa Bay); LW David Booth (unrestricted free agent, signed by Toronto); C Mike Santorelli (unrestricted free agent, signed by Toronto); C Zac Dalpe (unrestricted free agent, signed by Buffalo); C Jordan Schroeder (unrestricted free agent, signed by Minnesota); RW Benn Ferriero (unrestricted free agent, signed by St. Louis); C Jeremy Welsh (unrestricted free agent, signed by St. Louis); D Andrew Alberts (unrestricted free agent); LW Pascal Pelletier (unrestricted free agent); D Yann Sauve (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
May 26: Named Brian MacLellan general manager and Barry Trotz head coach.
July 1: Signed G Justin Peters (Carolina), D Brooks Orpik (Pittsburgh), D Matt Niskanen (Pittsburgh) and RW Chris Conner (Pittsburgh).
July 3: Signed LW Tim Kennedy (Arizona).
July 4: Signed C Kris Newbury (Philadelphia).
Offseason Departures
G Jaroslav Halak (traded to NY Islanders); C Mikhail Grabovski (unrestricted free agent, signed by NY Islanders); D Tyson Strachan (unrestricted free agent, signed by Buffalo); D Julien Brouillette (unrestricted free agent, signed by Winnipeg); RW Dustin Penner (unrestricted free agent); C Nicolas Deschamps (unrestricted free agent); C Peter LeBlanc (unrestricted free agent); C Ryan Stoa (unrestricted free agent).

Offseason Acquisitions (w/ previous rights)
July 1: Signed C Mathieu Perreault (Anaheim).
Aug. 1: Signed LW T.J. Galiardi (Calgary).
Aug. 8: Signed D Julien Brouillette (Washington).
Offseason Departures
D Zach Redmond (unrestricted free agent, signed by Colorado); G Al Montoya (unrestricted free agent, signed by Florida); C Olli Jokinen (unrestricted free agent, signed by Nashville); RW Devin Setoguchi (unrestricted free agent, signed by Calgary); C James Wright (unrestricted free agent).
TORONTO -- Of the 30 training camps underway around the NHL, Toronto’s is about the last one James Reimer figured to be at this year.

Truth be told, anyway. And Reimer has to be a little careful with how much honesty he throws into answering that question.

Because as it turns out, despite wanting a change of scenery after last season’s well-documented turn of events, Reimer in fact stayed put.

"There were some doubts about where I stood or what the direction would be going forward," Reimer said Friday on Day 2 of Leafs camp. "Over the course of the summer I really liked what was going on here.

[+] Enlarge James Reimer
Adam Hunger/Getty ImagesJames Reimer had a 3.29 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 36 games last season.
"I think good things have gone on here. I’m pretty excited."

Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis certainly looked around to see what was out there, but at the end of the day, there was nothing that made sense for Toronto. It’s hard to ask for an asset back from teams when they can look at all of the unrestricted free-agent goalies on the market and get them for nothing.

Reimer is a smart dude; he looked at the marketplace and understood that it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to trade him if Toronto wasn't going to get proper value in return. So he accepted that it didn’t happen.

"Obviously there’s only 60 spots and there’s a lot of good goaltenders, but I was excited to come back here," Reimer said. "At the end of the year it could have been doubtful, but as the summer goes on, you look at the chance we could have and the team we’re going to have . . . It’s something I was excited about and wanted to jump on board with."

So for now, Reimer and the Leafs will co-exist. In fact, they can really help each other out. Reimer gives Toronto quality insurance behind No. 1 Jonathan Bernier. In return, if Reimer shines when given the chance, his stock will rise ahead of the March trade deadline, or next offseason.

He signed a two-year, $4.6 million deal this summer, a contract he may very well carry somewhere else at some point.

For now, it’s about making the best of it. And for those who have been around Reimer, he’s an affable sort with a terrific attitude. He won’t be a sourpuss. He’ll be a good soldier.

"I’m coming in to compete as hard as I can and prepare for this season so that when Game 1 hits, you are ready to go and ready to be that guy for your team," Reimer said. "As far as how many games and what’s going to take place, that’s up to Randy. I’m just going to play my heart out like I always do and see where everything falls."

Randy Carlyle wasn’t on Reimer’s BFF list last season after the Leafs' coach commented following a loss in Detroit that the Reimer was "OK, just OK." What with Toronto being the biggest hockey media market in the world, that comment resonated like a hand grenade. It also coincided with Reimer’s worst stretch of the season while Bernier was injured and the Leafs had an epic collapse that dropped them out of the playoffs.

Now Reimer and Carlyle are back together, and on Day 1 of camp, Carlyle seemed to open the door for Reimer to still have an important role with Bernier.

"Well, right now, and I’m going to say it, it’s 1A and 1B," Carlyle said Thursday. "And you laugh at me, and you say, 'he’s full of this, he’s full of that.' Well, the reality is if you go to every team, you have to have somebody that’s going to emerge and be your guy. Usually that happens over the course of the first 40 games. That’s what happened to us last year.

"For Bernie, you can’t ignore how well he played for our hockey club, and we think the time James Reimer has spent with our group, we think he has a better understanding of what happened. But we’re not casting James Reimer to the side. We’re going to need James Reimer to go in and play and win us hockey games. It’s as simple as that."

They do need Reimer because there’s concern that Bernier wore down last season in his first year as the No. 1 goalie. So it will be important to pace Bernier and avoid that happening again.

As for his exact role, Reimer said Friday that he hasn’t heard yet from the coach himself.

"I’m not quite sure," he said. "We haven’t had a chat yet, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m coming in here to challenge for that No. 1. That’s how it is every year, whether you are solidified or whether there’s an opening or not. It’s one of those things where it’s my mindset to go out there and compete and compete hard for my teammates and give them a chance to win."

And help his own future in the process.

NHL players who have been charged with serious crimes

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
With the Ray Rice incident in the news, here is a list of NHL players who have been charged with crimes related to murder, homicide and/or manslaughter.

October 2007 – Rob Ramage
Former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Rob Ramage was found guilty of being criminally responsible for causing the death of his friend in a horrific car crash. Ramage was guilty of five charges, including impaired and dangerous driving, in the death of former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Keith Magnuson. Magnuson died instantly from head and chest injuries when a rental car Ramage was driving crashed head-on into a Nissan Pathfinder on Dec. 15, 2003. Ramage was also found guilty of impaired and dangerous driving in causing injuries to Michelle Pacheco, the driver of the Pathfinder. Ramage was sentenced to 4 years in prison, but was granted parole in May 2011.

February 2005 – Dany Heatley
Dany Heatley pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor charges in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges of first-degree vehicular homicide and reckless driving, which could have meant up to 15 years in prison. Heatley was also ordered to make 50 speeches a year for three years about the perils of speeding. His car was also required to have a mechanism to prevent it from exceeding 70 miles an hour. Heatley had been charged with vehicular homicide in the death of Dan Snyder, his Atlanta Thrashers teammate and friend, following a crash in September 2003.

December 1987 – Brian Spencer
Brian Spencer, an NHL player from 1969 to 1979, was indicted for murder and kidnapping. He stood trial in Palm Beach County, Fla., and was acquitted.

May 1984 – Craig MacTavish
Craig MacTavish was convicted of vehicular homicide in May 1984 while a member of the Boston Bruins. While drunk, he rear-ended a car, causing it to skid into a parking lot, where it hit two more cars and overturned. The other driver died days later and MacTavish served a year in prison. MacTavish would return to the NHL, winning four Stanley Cup titles and currently serves as the general manager of the Edmonton Oilers.
After a dramatic, late-season tailspin that transfixed hockey's biggest market, the Toronto Maple Leafs made some sweeping changes over the summer.

Surprisingly, the move many people expected -- the dismissal of coach Randy Carlyle -- didn't happen. Instead, the Leafs brought in Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan as team president, axed Carlyle's assistants and added to their front office with analytics wunderkind Kyle Dubas, who will serve as an assistant GM following a devastating season during which the team was constantly hammered for its poor puck-possession statistics.

How does that all add up? Former Leafs goaltender Glenn Healy said the team appears primed for a culture change, starting with the added personnel that includes a crop of players who come with a hard-nosed, Western Conference pedigree.

The Leafs signed forwards Mike Santorelli, Daniel Winnik, David Booth, Matt Frattin and Leo Komarov (the latter two on their second tour as Leafs) in free agency this summer.

[+] EnlargeJonathan Bernier
AP Photo/The Canadian Press/Nathan DenetteJonathan Bernier should give the Leafs a steady presence in goal this season.
"I think they have certainly reshaped their team in a huge way," Healy told in a recent phone conversation. "They've added some players, particularly in the bottom-six position, to give them more balance and more depth. The players they picked up are Western Conference players. They've reshaped their focus."

Healy thinks they've also bolstered their defense -- the Leafs acquired Roman Polak via trade and added Stephane Robidas in free agency -- a necessity given the fact they spent too much time in their own end "whether that was systems [related] or execution."

Healy thinks they have more mobile, puck-moving players who should help in terms of lessening the load on captain Dion Phaneuf and star forward Phil Kessel, who played monster minutes throughout the season only to see their productivity decline when they needed it most.

That drop-off wasn't exclusive to those two, considering the entire team seemed to wilt down the stretch to fall in stunning fashion out of a playoff spot.

"Look at their season. The first 60 games is a glorious dance. The last bunch of games, the club falls right off the cliff. Whether or not there's not enough depth or too many minutes, or an inability to compete when games really matter, that is their focus," Healy said of the team's need to maintain some semblance of consistency.

Should the Leafs falter and get off to a slow start, Carlyle might be on a short leash.

"[Shanahan] brought in a guy like Steve Spott -- he's going to be an NHL coach," Healy said. "Randy's got some heat on him a little bit. He looks 10 feet to the right and there's an NHL coach. That's a big difference."

That said, Healy thinks Carlyle can be successful if those around him can reinforce his message with a different mode of delivery.

"I think Randy is a good coach. You don't win a Stanley Cup without having that ability to get it. He gets it. The shortfall he had was the other assistant coaches were the same voice as Randy," said Healy, who spent 15 years in the NHL, four with the Leafs.

"Any time a player comes off the ice, the message has to put him in a good spot mentally so he can affect the game on the next shift. If there's that constant yelling, constant overcorrection, at some point, as a player, you throw your hands in the air."

Healy thinks Shanahan's influence can be a steadying one and that his addition will pay dividends for the club.

"Brendan is a guy who is a proven winner," said Healy, who has worked as a successful broadcaster for both the CBC and TSN since retirement. "He's seen great organizations and how they were built. This isn't new to him. He has spent the past number of years watching hockey games as the league's discipline chief."

Beyond the front-office fortification, Healy thinks having the goaltending position solidified heading into camp should be a huge plus. Though the team has been plagued by goaltending controversy in recent years, the Leafs will enter this season with a clear-cut No. 1 goaltender in Jonathan Bernier.

Bernier had an impressive 2013-14 season, posting a 26-19-7 record with a .922 save percentage, though he was hampered by injury in the last month of the regular season.

"He's a quality goaltender for sure," Healy said. "I think what the Leafs need from him is that same level of quality, and he can't have an injury."

Should that happen, the Leafs should be able to earn a postseason berth. But in order for the club to make significant strides, that cannot be enough. Healy insists the standard must be much higher in Toronto.

"Making the playoffs, that's lovely, but that truly can't be your goal," Healy said. "Good teams expect to make the playoffs. Boston is not thinking about making the playoffs. They're thinking about lifting the Stanley Cup."

Tossup: Watching the Leafs or paint dry?

August, 28, 2014
Aug 28
Toronto Maple LeafsToronto Maple Leafs
Critics might say that the Toronto Maple Leafs are a boring team to watch. So boring, in fact, that it might be more thrilling to watch paint dry rather than attending a game. Well, now's your chance, tough guy. Because we've got you covered, we've combined a bit of both -- here is a live stream of paint drying at the Air Canada Centre. You're welcome.

Over the years, the NHL has earned a reputation as the type of fraternity that fortifies its rank with men of a like-minded ilk -- old-school, battle-tested and often resistant to change.

This summer, however, we have seen that infused with new faces, diverse backgrounds and fresh ideas.

Nowhere is that more apparent than the league's movement toward embracing analytics.

Whereas champions of advanced stats have previously been the subject of scorn and derision from the mainstream hockey world -- labeled as nerds or contrarians and mocked for never having played the game at the professional level -- their insight is now being courted. Many of these bloggers and statisticians have made huge leaps in collecting and interpreting data, primarily possession statistics, as predictive for a team's success.

Teams are starting to recognize that as a valuable asset.

On Tuesday morning, TSN's Bob McKenzie broke the news that Tyler Dellow, one of the people at the forefront of the advanced stats movement and followed by many via his Twitter handle @mc79hockey, has been hired by the Edmonton Oilers.

Dellow's hiring, which a source confirmed to, is just the latest in this trend toward more innovative additions to a club's traditional front office or hockey operations staff.

Before Dellow, professional poker player Sunny Mehta was hired Friday by the New Jersey Devils to head the team's new analytics department (a move that was recommended by new owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer) and FiveThirtyEight analytics writer Eric Tulsky has worked for teams, including the Nashville Predators. Even the Toronto Maple Leafs, a consistent target of those in the advanced stats community for the club's atrocious possession numbers, seem to realize the need for a new perspective.

In November, months before the Leafs' epic collapse, GM Dave Nonis said he felt that many advanced stats being employed were "not accurate" or relevant. Apparently, others within the organization now feel differently. The Leafs hired youngster Kyle Dubas as an assistant general manager after the 28-year-old proved himself at the junior hockey level in large part because of his strength in employing analytics.

This is still new territory. These jobs signal a paradigmatic shift in the making, but by no means have traditional types been given the heave-ho.

What will be perhaps the most fascinating part of this phenomenon is how these two groups co-exist. How much of a club's resources will be devoted to analytics and how much will the findings dictate the club's hockey-making decisions? Will these new hires be given a sense of autonomy by the organizations, or will they have to fight against a healthy dose of skepticism from front-office vets who aren't yet on board with using Fenwick and Corsi stats as meaningful methods of evaluation?

The landscape is changing, and teams are keen on gaining any type of competitive advantage. If those forward-thinking clubs start to reap the benefits, you can imagine there will be many more teams scouring the bowels of the Internet for the type of statistical wunderkind who might give them a leg up too.

Hair bands and hockey hair: a marriage made in heaven. We're dropping the needle on 30 songs that say something about each of the 30 teams, using nothing but cheesy videos from the 1980s. The Eastern Conference list is below -- feel free to mullet over. (Western Conference is here.)

BOSTON BRUINS: "Don't You (Forget About Me)," Simple Minds

Everyone's all caught up in the West Coast domination thing, but you can't discount the Bruins, the hardest team in the East. They changed very little in the offseason, have been good for many seasons and have had their core together for many seasons. Replacing Jarome Iginla's 30 goals will not be easy, but somehow these guys always find a way to win, no matter how many goals leave. And if they can find a way to beat the Canadiens ...

Slow change may pull us apart
When the light gets into your heart, baby
Don't you forget about me
Don't don't don't don't
Don't you forget about me

BUFFALO SABRES: "Road To Nowhere," Talking Heads

This was as close as we could get to "We're On The Road To Finishing Last, So We Have a Better Chance of Getting Connor McDavid Or We'd Even Take Jack Eichel, As Far As That Goes."

They can tell you what to do
But they'll make a fool of you
And it's all right, baby, it's all right
We're on a road to nowhere

CAROLINA HURRICANES: "Mad World," Tears For Fears

No offense to Tim Gleason, but there's not much new happening here. Which, as you might expect, is how a team that finished so low in the Eastern Conference and failed to make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season should operate. Sarcasm. No wonder Jim Rutherford left.

All around me are familiar faces
Worn-out places
Worn-out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere
Going nowhere

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: "Here I Go Again," Whitesnake

So, you're Scott Hartnell, playing fairly well on one of the league's most desirable teams. Then, poof, you're suddenly dealt to Columbus, with little indication as to why. It's enough to make your hair stand on end. More, that is.

I don't know where I'm going
But I sure know where I've been
Hanging on the promises
In songs of yesterday
And I've made up my mind,
I ain't wasting no more time
But here I go again
Here I go again

DETROIT RED WINGS: "Broken Wings," Mr. Mister

Who are we to stand in the way of obvious symbolism? Man, the Red Wings really miss Nicklas Lidstrom.

So take these broken wings
And learn to fly again, learn to live so free

FLORIDA PANTHERS: "Money For Nothing," Dire Straits

Dave Bolland is a good player, but five years at $5.5 million per? The Panthers must feel his intangibles are off the charts, because his tangibles -- which were never great, as he has never scored 20 goals in a season -- are declining to disappearing.

That ain't workin'
That's the way you do it

MONTREAL CANADIENS: "Under Pressure," Queen and David Bowie

Getting to the final four is a great selling point for every team in the league -- except if you're the Canadiens, whose fans consider anything short of a parade to be a failure. Can Carey Price rebound from his playoff injury? Can P.K. Subban continue to light it up without causing a brush fire in the dressing room? Will the Habs get back to the conference finals? And so on.

Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you, no man ask for
Under pressure that burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets

NEW JERSEY DEVILS: "Don't Worry, Be Happy," Bobby McFerrin

If there was a state of denial, it's New Jersey. It's not enough that Martin Brodeur, the greatest goalie not named Patrick Roy, is unceremoniously being pushed out -- the team's scoring woes are to be addressed by a frequently injured Martin Havlat and a decent-but-declining Michael Cammalleri. Whether it's on the ice or off, this franchise is not what it used to be, but no one in Newark seems all that concerned.

Ain't got no cash, ain't got no style
Ain't got no girl to make you smile
But don't worry, be happy
'Cause when you worry
Your face will frown
And that will bring everybody down

NEW YORK ISLANDERS: "Is There Something I Should Know?" Duran Duran

Even with a new building on the horizon, the Islanders are still considered a team to stay away from. Heck, it's so bad, they aren't even on national TV this season. And their offseason signings -- Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin, Cory Conacher and Jack Skille -- show only the downtrodden or desperate decide to head to the Isle. Somewhere, a frustrated Clark Gillies is throwing boulders at a Sasquatch.

Maybe next year, maybe no go
I know you're watching me every minute of the day yeah
I've seen the signs and the looks and the pictures that give your game away yeah
There's a dream that strings the road a broken glass for us to hold
And I cut so far before I had to say
Please, please tell me now, is there something I should know
Is there something I should say that'll make you come my way

NEW YORK RANGERS: "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)," Cinderella

The Rangers will always have King Henrik. But their chances of returning to the Cup finals are looking as arid as the setting in this video, after losing Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot and Brad Richards and replacing them with Dan Boyle, Lee Stempniak and ... Tanner Glass? Zoinks.

Don't know what you got till it's gone
Don't know what it is I did so wrong
Now I know what I got
It's just this song
And it ain't easy to get back
Takes so long

OTTAWA SENATORS: "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)," Glass Tiger

Jason Spezza is now a Dallas Star. Weird, huh? First longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson moves on, then Spezza bails. Sounds like some woe is living in O-town.

Oh can this be true
If you could see what I have seen
Broken hearts and broken dreams
Then I wake up and you're not there
Pain finds me everywhere

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: "I Don't Care Anymore," Phil Collins

Are they even trying to be good? Something just doesn't feel right about this team.

Well, you can tell everyone I'm a down disgrace
Drag my name all over the place
I don't care anymore
You can tell everybody about the state I'm in
You won't catch me crying 'cause I just can't win
I don't care anymore, I don't care anymore

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: "Say You, Say Me," Lionel Richie

Sidney Crosby, you're good, you're special and, doggone it, people like you. You're great, you're really, really great. A shining star, truly. But, dude, you have one Stanley Cup. So, now you've got a new coach -- a new friend, of a sort -- who can show you how to win. And, if you somehow lead your team to the big prize, people will be dancing on the ceiling.

As we go down life's lonesome highway
Seems the hardest thing to do is to find a friend or two
A helping hand, someone who understands
That when you feel you've lost your way
You've got some one there to say I'll show you

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: "Sledgehammer," Peter Gabriel

Get ready, Bolts fans. This could be your year. GM Steve Yzerman has made some savvy moves in his relatively short tenure, stacking up on good defensemen in the offseason and re-signing Ryan Callahan. That, coupled with the return to health of super sniper Steven Stamkos and stonewall Ben Bishop mean these aren't your Chris Gratton-variety Lightning.

I've kicked the habit
Shed my skin
This is the new stuff
I go dancing in, we go dancing in
Oh won't you show for me
And I will show for you
Show for me, I will show for you

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: "Land Of Confusion," Genesis

Dave Nonis decries the use of advanced stats in the NHL. Then, after new sheriff Brendan Shanahan rides into town, the Leafs hire a noted advanced-stats guru as the assistant GM. Who's in charge here again? How long will Nonis have a job? Is the captain staying or going? Is James Reimer the backup? So confusing.

There's too many men
Too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Can't you see
This is a land of confusion

WASHINGTON CAPITALS: "Turn Me Loose," Loverboy

Alex Ovechkin's summertime heartache aside, you know he wants to be turned loose by whomever his coach happens to be, and this season he's got Barry Trotz behind the bench. Will it happen? Will he be given the green light by yet another coach? And, if so, will he actually try while backchecking?

I was born to run
I was born to dream
The craziest boy you ever seen
I gotta do it my way
Or no way at all

#ESPNplayerNHL: Best of Canada's teams?

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
Ice hockey is Canada's game. So we expect passionate responses when we ask about the seven NHL teams north of the border.

The question is very simple: Who is the all-time franchise player for each team in Canada?

In Montreal, Maurice "Rocket" Richard's accomplishments are well-known. And there is a reason the trophy for the leading goal scorer is named after him.

[+] EnlargeCanadiens
AP PhotoIs Maurice "Rocket" Richard the most important player in Canadiens history?
Toronto has had plenty of stars wear the Maple Leaf -- Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour, Dave Keon, Mats Sundin, just to name a few.

Jarome Iginla and Daniel Alfredsson have since moved on, but their legacies were created with the Flames and Senators, respectively.

Trevor Linden is back with the Canucks as team president, but his playing days might have made the biggest impact in Vancouver.

The Jets are a two-part question because a large part of their history now belongs to the Coyotes and the rest comes from the Thrashers.

Lastly, Wayne Gretzky is the obvious choice for the Oilers, but can anyone top The Great One?

Now it's time for you to vote. Who is the most important player for each Canadian team?

You can cast your ballot in three ways: in the comments section below, through our Facebook page, or hit us up on Twitter @ESPN_NHL using the hashtag #ESPNplayerNHL.
Doug GilmourDavid Cooper/Getty ImagesCould you bear to have Doug Gilmour as the Leafs' top franchise player?
Toronto Maple Leafs fans, you have no excuse. For some of the other teams lacking votes for our best franchise player project, I can see what's happening -- not enough history, not enough good players, not a big enough fan base. But the Leafs? The Buds? The Make Believes?

Seriously? We should have more votes for your team than any other.

What we're saying is we need your help selecting the top Leaf of all time. And what a wealth of players to choose from. Maybe that's the problem -- too much selection:

Mats Sundin, Wendel Clark, Darryl Sittler, Doug Gilmour, Borje Salming, Felix Potvin, Teeder Kennedy, Howie Meeker, Turk Broda, Curtis Joseph, Phil Kessel, Dave Keon, George Armstrong, Frank Mahovlich, Rick Vaive, Lanny McDonald, Tiger Williams, Baldy Cotton, Dion Phaneuf, Todd Gill, Rocky Saganiuk, Hap Day, Gary Roberts, Darcy Tucker, Jiri Crha. And that's just a partial list, some of which was serious.

Tell us who you feel is truly Mr. Maple Leaf. Who would be the one player to represent the Maple Leafs?

You can cast your ballot in three ways: in the comments section below, through our Facebook page or, if you're hitting us up from the Twitter, use the hashtag #ESPNplayerNHL.

Don't let that whole "1967" thing bring you down.