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Tuesday, 24.05.2011 / 1:44 PM / Matt Iaboni's Blog
By Matt Iaboni  - Mapleleafs.com online producer
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After the long weekend, we have a couple of Brian Burke interviews that you will enjoy. Leafs TV's Paul Hendrick caught up with the Leafs general manager at the Memorial Cup in Mississauga. Burke spoke about the strides that Jesse Blacker has made since he was drafted by the Leafs in 2009.

Burke also talked about some of the options that the Leafs will have at the draft in June. He mentioned the possibility of packaging one of the two Leafs first round picks with the Leafs second pick to try and move up.

The topic of acquiring a centre was brought up and Burke said that the Leafs will look to address that area on July 1st or if that doesn't workout than through a trade.

Watch the full interview below.



Burke was also on the BS Report with Bill Simmons recently to speak about the Leafs, the growth of the game, what the game of hockey means to people in Canada and much more. Listen to the interview right here.


May 16

The 2011 OHL Championship came down to a Game 7 Sunday in Mississauga and Jesse Blacker and the Owen Sound Attack won 3-2 in overtime. Jarred Maidens scored just 3:27 in to overtime to have the winning goal.

Blacker was a plus one in the game. He finished the series with four points and an even rating. He finished the post-season with 16 points in 22 games, which was good enough for second best among defencemen.

The next step for the Attack is the Memorial Cup which begins this Friday in Mississauga. Owen Sound (OHL Champion), Mississauga (Host), Kootenay (WHL) and St. John (QMJHL) are the four teams taking part in the tournament. For more info on the Memorial Cup or to purchase tickets go here. Blacker and the Attack begin the tournament on Saturday against Kootenay at 7 p.m. on Rogers Sportsnet.

Kootenay ousted Leafs prospect Brad Ross and the Portland Winterhawks in five games to take the WHL title.

The World Hockey Championships came to an end Sunday. Sweden was crushed 6-1 by their bitter rival Finland in the Gold medal game. Carl Gunnarsson was a minus two on the day. Despite the rough day, Gunnarsson had two points in the nine games with a plus five rating. He averaged the third most ice-time among defencemen for Sweden at 20:35.

Nikolai Kulemin and Russia lost the Bronze medal game earlier on Sunday to the Czech Republic 7-4. Kulemin was a minus one with five shots on net. He didn't have a great tournament as he had just one goal in nine games with a minus four rating.


May 13

Jesse Blacker and the Owen Sound Attack pushed the OHL Finals to a Game 7 after a 3-2 win over Mississauga on Thursday. Blacker was held pointless but was a plus one on the night. Game 7 goes Sunday in Mississauga at 2 pm. In the series so far, Blacker has four points ( one goal, three assists) with a minus one rating.

In the WHL, Brad Ross returns from a two-game suspension tonight as the Portland Winterhawks look to avoid elimination against Kootenay. Ross was suspended after a knee on knee hit during Game 2. It was his second suspension of the playoffs. Here is an article on Ross as he is set to make his return tonight.

The 2011 World Hockey Championships are slowly coming to an end. Team Canada was eliminated by Russia in the quarterfinals Thursday. With the loss, Canada has now gone two straight years without winning a medal.

James Reimer didn't get the start in the loss. He finished the tournament with three wins. Dion Phaneuf averaged a team high 22:51 throught the tournament with three assists and a plus one rating. Luke Schenn had one point in seven games while averaging 16:24 of ice-time.

There is just one Leafs player going for Gold now Carl Gunnarsson.

Sweden defeated the Czech Republic 5-2 in the first semi-final on Friday. Gunnarsson was plus one in over 19 minutes of action. Thus far in the tournament he has two assists and is a plus seven while he averages just under 21 minutes per game.

In the second semi-final, Finland defeated Russia 3-0. Nikolai Kulemin had two shots in 11:01 of ice-time in the loss for Russia. Kulemin and Russia will play for Bronze against the Czech Republic Sunday.

Here are the Top 10 World Championship Goals




May 11

In the latest Leafs Play Of The Year matchup, it is two Mikhail Grabovski goals going head-to-head. The first play is a tic tac toe goal against Pittsburgh with the second play is his revenge against Boston after taking two crushing hits from Zdeno Chara.

You can watch the plays here and vote for which play you want to see move on.

Tuesday in the OHL playoffs, Jesse Blacker and the Owen Sound Attack fell 7-3 to the Mississauga Majors as they now trail the series 3-2. Game six is Thursday in Owen Sound. Blacker had two assists in the loss and he now has 16 points in 20 playoff games. He was named the third star on the night.

In the WHL playoffs, Leafs prospect Brad Ross has been suspended two games for this hit on Kootenay forward Matt Fraser. The hit doesn't appear that bad but Ross was suspended earlier in the post season for three games.  What did you think of the hit? Let me know on Twitter

In the World Championships, Mike Brown and Mike Komisarek saw their tournament come to an end as USA lost 4-0 to the Czech Republic Wednesday in the quarter-final.  Brown played just under 10 minutes with one shot while Komisarek saw over 15 minutes of ice-time.

Carl Gunnarsson and Sweden hammered Germany 5-2 in the second quarter-final Wednesday. Sweden will now face the Czech Republic in one semi-final on Friday. Gunnarsson was a plus two in 14:34 of ice-time.

Two Marlies players, Korbinian Holzer and Marcel Mueller had their tournament end in the loss. Holzer picked up one assist with one shot but he was a minus one in over 14 minutes of action. Mueller was held scoreless with three shots in almost 14 minutes.

With Canada meeting Russia Thursday afternoon (2 p.m, TSN), Real Sports Apparel is offering 30% off all Team Canada gear until May 15th. More info here

Leafs netminder James Reimer will be the back up tomorrow as Ken Hitchcock has decided to go with Jonathan Bernier in the medal round against Russian.


May 10

The Leafs Plays Of The Year are ongoing. Today's matchup has Luke Schenn's End-To-End Rush up against Nikolai Kulemin's Waiting Game.

Watch and vote for your favourite play. Check back tomorrow to see who will move on to the next round and also see what matchup is the final one for the first round.

With the NHL playoffs in full swing, the OHL and WHL are close to crowing champions prior to the Memorial Cup starting May 20th in Mississauaga, Ontario.

The St. Mike's Majors have already secured their spot as hosts of the tournament with Leafs prospect Jesse Blacker and his Owen Sound Attack also guaranteed a spot as they are playing the Majors in the OHL Final. Currently, the series is tied at 2-2 with Game 5 taking place tonight in Mississauga.

Blacker has recorded two points in the OHL final with a minus two rating. He has 14 points in the playoffs which is fourth best among OHL defencemen.

In the Western Hockey League, Leafs prospect Brad Ross and the Portland Winterhawks are tied at 1-1 with the Kootenay Ice. Games 3 and four are tonight and tomorrow in Kootenay. Ross has been held pointless in the first two games with a minus two rating. In 15 playoff games he has six points with 33 penalty minutes.

The 2011 World Hockey Championships are now at the quarterfinal stage. Tuesday was an off-day at the tournament with the action resuming on Wednesday.

The Maple Leafs had 10 players play for their respective countries. The only player to have his tournament end before the quarterfinals was Mikhail Grabovski and Belarus who avoided relegation with a 7-1 win over Slovenia. Grabovski was the captain for Belarus as he finished the tournament with four points in six games.

Three Leafs will be going head-to-head in one of the quarterfinals when Sweden faces Germany Wednesday. Carl Gunnarsson has been a force for Sweden with two points in six games with a plus four rating in 22:14 of ice-time per game which leads all Swedish players. Korbinian Holzer and Marcel Mueller have been key players for Germnay. Holzer has yet to record a point but he is plus three playing a team high 19:33 per game. Mueller leads all German players in points with one goal and four assists.

If Holzer and Mueller have been pleasant surprises for Germany, the struggles for Nikolai Kulemin are a disappointment. He has just one goal in six games in just over 9 minutes of action per game. Russia faces Canada in the quarterfinals Thursday afternoon.

Mike Komisarek and Mike Brown along with the rest of Team USA have struggled as they get set to play the defending champion Czech Republic on Wednesday. Komisarek has two points in six games while Brown is pointless thus far.

The final three players we will look at playing in the Worlds are Dion Phaneuf, James Reimer and Luke Schenn.

Phaneuf has three assists and a plus two in a team high 22:28 per game. He is also an alternate captain playing on the top pairing with Brent Burns. Schenn has one assist and a plus three rating. He is on the second pairing with Alex Pietrangelo. Reimer has continued his sensational play in Slovakia. He is a perfect 3-0 with a 2.04 GAA and a .920 SV%.

Head coach Ken Hitchcock was yet to decide who his starting goalie for the medal round will be. It will come down to Reimer or Jonathan Bernier.
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