Leafs coach Ron Wilson to speak with Tomas Kaberle about "problems"

ronwilson1.jpgIn case you missed it, Tomas Kaberle’s father, Frantisek, created a bit of a dust-up recently by stating that Tomas struggled playing under Leafs head coach Ron Wilson. While the subsequent talk of apparent translation stealing dominated the coverage, it covered up the main story at hand that Kaberle may or may not have a problem with the head coach of his team. Adam Proteau from The Hockey News decided to investigate a bit and find out what Ron Wilson will do about all this.

“All this has come from out in left field and until I sit down and talk about this with Kaba, there’s no point in commenting any further,” Wilson told TheHockeyNews.com Tuesday. “People are quoted in a foreign magazine – and this isn’t the first time something like this has come up. If Kaba wants to come and talk to me about some of this stuff, that’s the best way for us to address any of the issues he thinks he has.”

“Even last year, there was this perceived rumor with Kaba and I sat down with Kaba and he said ‘this isn’t true’,” Wilson said. “We’ll address it when we have a chance to sit down and face each other eye-to-eye and I’m sure (Leafs president-GM) Brian (Burke) will be a part of the conversation as well. That’s the best way to handle it.”

Players having issues with coaches is nothing really all that new and whether or not Kaberle, Kaba if you will, has an actual problem with Wilson or if he was just venting the frustration over losing so often to his father is really unknown. Of course, this kind of drama makes for great off-season discussion, especially after the Leafs didn’t trade Kaberle while they had the opportunity.

If there really is discord here between Wilson and Kaberle, don’t expect the chatter about him being traded to die down at all throughout the year, no-trade clause or not..

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    The Ottawa Senators are getting tested

    Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson stands in front of his bench as the hats are cleared off the ice after a hat trick by Pittsburgh Penguins' Bryan Rust in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. The Penguins won 8-5. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    We’ve gotten pretty good at identifying vulnerable hockey teams these past few years as the analytics movement has taken hold. The 2013 Toronto Maple Leafs were due for a regression, and regressed. Ditto for the 2013-14 Colorado Avalanche and 2014-15 Calgary Flames.

    Sometimes, teams can survive an entire season while bucking the odds. Which is why the Ottawa Senators will be interesting to watch the rest of the way in 2016-17.

    Under new coach Guy Boucher, the Sens are an impressive 15-9-2, good for second place in the Atlantic Division.

    But the Sens also have many of the statistical markings of a vulnerable team:

    — A score-adjusted Corsi that ranks 27th out of 30
    — A 9-0-2 record in one-goal games
    — A goal-differential of minus-3

    After last night’s 8-5 loss in Pittsburgh, the Sens head to California with just one win in their last four, and without their starting goalie, Craig Anderson, who’s taken another leave to be with his wife.

    Anderson has been brilliant this season, going 12-6-1 with a .924 save percentage. He’s been a huge key to their success, twice earning the NHL’s first-star-of-the-week honors.

    The starting duties will now fall temporarily on Mike Condon, who’s gone 3-1-1 with a stellar .943 save percentage since coming over from Pittsburgh. The Sens’ No. 3 goalie, Andrew Hammond, has been recalled for the road trip, which starts Wednesday in San Jose, continues Saturday in Los Angeles, and wraps up Sunday in Anaheim.

    “It’s a good test to see where our team is at,” forward Derick Brassard told reporters prior to last night’s defeat. “We’re going to play four of the best teams in the league. It’s good for the team to get together and battle through this.”

    Van Riemsdyk trying to block out trade talk

    TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 15:  James van Riemsdyk #25 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates a goal against the Boston Bruins during an NHL game on October 15, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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    Remember those Dougie-Hamilton-to-Toronto trade rumors Brian Burke shot down last week? Well, in case you don’t, a refresher:

    The Leafs, reportedly in the market for a defenseman, were reportedly willing to part with a winger — a position Calgary is looking to upgrade — which led many to speculate on a Hamilton-for-William Nylander swap.

    Or, a Hamiton-for-James van Riemsdyk deal.

    This week, JVR responded to the banter.

    “You don’t really worry about it too much,” he said, per the Toronto Sun. “(Blocking it out) comes from experience.

    “It tends to eat at you a little bit more (when you’re younger), but now you realize it is completely out of your control and it does not really faze you as much.”

    Van Riemsdyk, who leads the Leafs with 11 goals and 20 points through 24 games this year, is fairly tantalizing as far as potential additions go. He’s on a good contract (two years left at $4.25 million per) and has been a pretty consistent scorer for the Leafs, which included a career-high 30 goals in ’13-14.

    At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, he’s got solid size and has long been viewed as one of the better power forwards going.

    This, of course, is the exact reason why Toronto would want to keep van Riemsdyk. It’s important to remember that he only turned 27 in May, and could easily be a part of the core group of Nylander, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri et al.

    Despite winning record, Rangers ‘very aware’ they must be better

    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Head coach Alain Vigneault of the New York Rangers leaves the ice following a 5-0 defeat against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 21, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    The New York Rangers may be winning, but their head coach, Alain Vigneault, knows they need to be better.

    Hmmm…this feels familiar for some reason.

    Oh right, that’s because it was the same story last season, when the Rangers got off to a great start before tailing off then fizzling out in the playoffs.

    The Rangers head into tonight’s game in Brooklyn with a record of 17-8-1. That’s the good news.

    Here’s the bad — in five of their last six games, they’ve been held to 25 shots or fewer. On the season, their score-adjusted Corsi has fallen to 26th in the league.

    “We’re very aware and very conscious of the areas we need to be better at,” Vigneault said, per the New York Post. “We’re playing a team that’s playing real solid hockey.”

    Indeed, the Islanders are 3-0-1 in their last four, including wins over Pittsburgh and Washington.

    To be fair to the Rangers, they’ve been without Mika Zibanejad for the past seven games, and he was a big part of their early success. Tonight, they’ll also be without Michael Grabner, who’s gone back to Austria for his grandmother’s funeral.

         Read more: The new-look Rangers are dangerous on every line

    But the Rangers aren’t looking to make excuses. They’re looking instead to get back on track.

    “It’s definitely a five-man thing for us and communication and just getting on the same page again,” forward Jimmy Vesey said, per the Daily News. “It’s definitely something we need to get back to, and I think that’s kind of like the recipe for being a good team down the line and in the playoffs.”

    After waiving Enroth, Toronto signs Ramo to AHL deal

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Calgary Flames
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    Kari Ramo took another step in his return to the NHL on Tuesday, signing a PTO with the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Marlies.

    The deal, first reported by TSN, comes one day after Toronto placed backup netminder Jhonas Enroth on waivers.

    “Obviously, wasn’t going good enough,” head coach Mike Babcock said of the decision to waive Enroth, per TSN. “We’re just in a situation where we’re making a change.”

    (Enroth cleared today, FYI.)

    As for Ramo, he’s an interesting figure. The 30-year-old suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Calgary this past February and, at the time of the injury, led all Flames netminders in starts, with 33.

    Prior to that, he’d rebounded from a poor start to the year — which included Calgary waiving him — and, in January, then-head coach Bob Hartley called Ramo “probably one of the hottest goalies in the league.”

    So it’s easy to see why Toronto would be interested.

    Of course, Ramo is coming off a major knee injury and has basically been shelved for 10 months. He’s been practicing with the Leafs, but this ATO with the Marlies will give him a chance to test the knee in a game situation, and knock off some of the rust that’s surely accumulated.

    Ramo is believed to be close to receiving medical clearance for a return to action.