Leafs score

Dudley: Leafs close to becoming “really, really good”


Rick Dudley may be leaving his post as Toronto’s director of player personnel to become the assistant general manager in Montreal, but it’s not because he believes the Maple Leafs are a lost cause.

In fact, Dudley told the Globe and Mail the Leafs need only make “three moves and maybe two to become a really, really good hockey organization.”

Above all, he says GM Brian Burke needs to acquire an established goalie.

“The whole team gets better [with good goaltending],” Dudley said. “It took me a whole lifetime in hockey to realize that. But it puts confidence in your players and makes them all better.”

Thus all the Roberto Luongo-to-Toronto speculation (much of it here!)

Dudley also sang the praises of Leafs youngster Jake Gardiner, as well as prospects Joe Colborne, Jesse Blacker, Korbinian Holzer and Stuart Percy.

“They are all going to play in the league and they’re going to be good,” he said.

We tend to poke fun at the Leafs on PHT. However, based on the Marlies’ strong showing in the AHL playoffs, we do recognize there’s reason to believe things could get better.

Not quite ready to predict “really, really good” though.

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: