A collection of the latest news from around the world of hockey:
Over the past few seasons, the legacy of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been their ability to get rid of horrible contracts. Contracts that they themselves signed and felt were good decisions at the time. So in other words, this is a franchise that seems to have to no clue how to value assets, and yet gets credit when they’re able to ship those assets out the door. That’s so Leafs, isn’t it? They don’t win much or make the playoffs, but they know how to trade overpaid players that they thought were going to be part of the core. [The Guardian], [Bleacher Report]
The Dion Phaneuf trade needed to happen. He shouldn’t be a captain, he shouldn’t be a top-two defenceman. He won’t be either of those things in Ottawa. He isn’t a terrible player. He is simply miscast, and misused, and has been searching for his identity in the league. When he burst onto the scene in Calgary, he hit, he fought and he scored a lot of goals. He was never the smoothest skater but that didn’t matter for his style of play. For some reason, however, it looked as though he was being morphed into a minute-munching number one defenceman and strayed from what made him a Calder Trophy candidate. For his sake and for the Senators sake, let’s hope he’ll go back to his strengths, because he isn’t as bad as he is perceived to be. [Ottawa Sun]
All this new found cap space in Toronto is causing the Stamkos talk to flair up even more. Let’s be really clear on this. Steven Stamkos would probably love to play for his hometown team. But the Leafs have been stripped bare and are rebuilding from scratch. For a young player who is about to sign a very lucrative long-term contract, it doesn’t make sense to go to a team where he won’t be able to win. Does having Mike Babcock erase the decades of incompetence in Toronto? Should we believe they could actually be successful one day? Stamkos is a smart guy. If he wants to win a Stanley Cup, Toronto isn’t the place to be right now. Could he sign there? Sure he could. Should Leaf fans get their hopes up? I wouldn’t recommend it. [TSN]
(Side note: Stamkos alone isn’t enough. Either the Leafs waste his prime years rebuilding, or they speed up the process. And we all know how well that worked for them in the past).
In other news…
Bob Hartley took a risk sitting some of his best players when the team is desperate for wins. Fortunately, the Flames got the two points, and sent an important lesson about accountability at the same time. [Sportsnet]
Find out what hockey is like in Sweden, courtesy of Victor Hedman. [Players Tribune]
Ever wonder what happens when a goalie needs to use the restroom during a game? [Sports Illustrated]
Evgeni Malkin is still out with injury. [ESPN]
Losing teeth is just part of being a hockey player. [Fox Sports]
Does Jonathan Drouin deserve the criticism he’s getting? [Mile High Hockey]
Is Justin Schultz about to be traded? [Copper N Blue]
Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall are roommates. [Puck Daddy]
And finally, will the NHL ever expand to Las Vegas? [Review Journal]
Marcy, a former hockey player, is a hockey correspondent on CTV News and TSN radio. She began her career as a Sports Journalist in 2009 and has been part of The Hockey Writers since 2010, where she is currently a senior writer and editor.