Columnist: Leiweke’s bravado ‘laughable stuff’

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We’ve written a couple of times this week about Tim Leiweke and the bold statements he’s made in his first few days as president and CEO of MLSE, the parent company of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (See: “New Leafs prez has Stanley Cup parade-route planned” and “Leiweke wants to be a ‘hero’ in Toronto”.)

Well, today it was the media’s opportunity to respond to those statements, and at least one columnist, Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star, wasn’t impressed.

It’s laughable stuff for alert Toronto sports fans, who probably thought they’d experienced the living pinnacle in human hubris and ego when they lived through four years of Brian Burke. A little more than two weeks’ worth of Leiweke suggests that, in the cultivation of executive arrogance, the new guy in town is intent on scaling new heights.

Safe to say we can put Feschuk in the same camp as 94-year-old former Leaf Wally Stanowski, who said of Leiweke’s plans to rid the ACC hallways of pictures of the team’s more glorious past: “You want my opinion on it? Well, I think he’s lost his brain. You can’t bury the past.”

While Sportsnet’s Michael Grange didn’t exactly rip Leiweke, he did suggest the new MLSE boss was taking a risk by being so audacious.

There is no clear evidence that making those kinds of statements leads to those kinds of results. The biggest challenge MLSE faces is that all three of its teams play in leagues where spending on players is tightly controlled.

At the end of the day, the Leafs aren’t going to win a Stanley Cup unless they get the players to do it. So perhaps all this talk about Leiweke is a product of the summer, when there are no games to watch. But all of the above is just another element to add to the narrative of the richest team in the league that hasn’t won it all since 1967.

Video: Senators make Penguins pay for penalties with 1-1 goal

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The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.

They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.

Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.

Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.

Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.

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Another big goal from Malkin; another confusing goalie interference review

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The Ottawa Senators are ready for a fight in Game 6, which seemingly means that the Pittsburgh Penguins must grind for space and chances. So far, the Penguins are willing to do just that.

Being that this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it also means that you need to shrug off setbacks … and the Penguins are doing well in that area, too.

After a 0-0 first period, it seemed like Trevor Daley scored a “greasy” 1-0 goal, but after a review, it was dismissed because of goalie interference. The crowd’s silent, confused response mirrored many on social media who genuinely don’t know what is or is not interference any longer.

The Penguins could have sulked after that near-goal. Instead, they just kept chipping away. Evgeni Malkin finally broke the ice – for real – with a gritty 1-0 tally. You can watch that ugly-pretty effort in the video above this post’s headline.

This marks Malkin’s seventh goal and 24th point of the postseason. No one else has reached 20 yet.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

Colin White makes Senators playoff debut, Penguins lineup the same

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The Stanley Cup Playoffs often feel like a battle of attrition, which only makes the introduction of fresh faces that much more compelling.

Try this on for size: with their playoff lives on the line, the Ottawa Senators will see the playoff debut of 2015 first-rounder* Colin White against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. It’s also just his third game at the NHL level, overall.

After rolling with seven defensemen in Game 5, Guy Boucher is opting for a traditional alignment of 12 forwards and six defensemen.

White has that high-level pedigree and possibly fresh legs – even just relatively speaking – so it’s not out of the question for the 20-year-old center to make an impact.

Check out the full roster report here (note: Pittsburgh’s going with the same group as Game 5). Scott Wilson is good to go for the Penguins.

* – 21st overall.

Boucher on Senators’ resiliency: ‘We’ve always chosen to fight’

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It’s almost always intriguing to see how a team responds to a tough playoff loss, but that fascination spikes even more if said team fell by an especially lopsided score.

We’ve seen the Pittsburgh Penguins respond to some blowouts with big wins, but now the shoe is on the other foot; how will the Ottawa Senators rebound from the 7-0 shellacking they suffered in Game 5?

Well, if you ask Guy Boucher, they’ve developed a track record that shows they’re willing to fight with their backs against the wall.

Great stuff, right? It’s honestly too bad that Boucher’s defensive system isn’t always as entertaining as his quotes.

Speaking of how Game 5 feeds into tonight’s Game 6, the video above this post’s headline discusses how Ottawa’s goaltenders might be feeling heading into Tuesday.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6