Randy Carlyle Leafs

Carlyle on HBO presence: ‘It’s not normal what we’re living right now’


HBO 24/7: Red Wings/Maple Leafs is only one episode old, but it’s already affecting Toronto.

Just ask the head coach.

“It’s not normal what we’re living right now,” Leafs bench boss Randy Carlyle said, as per the Canadian Press. “These people are professional people, they try to make it as easy as possible. But it’s not easy to sit and give a team meeting and have a team meeting with a camera and a microphone.

“It’s just not normal for us. We’ve never had to do that.”

The first episode of the popular HBO program aired this past weekend with three more scheduled, leading up to the grand finale — the 2014 Winter Classic, to be played at the University of Michigan’s Big House on Jan 1.

The debut episode of 24/7 highlighted Toronto’s loss to Boston on Dec. 8, and has since captured Toronto’s roughest patch of the season (or, depending on how big a distraction you think HBO is, played a role in said rough patch.)

The Leafs followed the Boston defeat — 5-2, in which Dion Phaneuf laid the hit that got him suspended — with losses to Los Angeles and St. Louis, before blowing out Chicago 7-3 on Dec. 14.

The ‘Hawks win was followed by a pair of losses — to Pittsburgh and Florida — before Thursday night’s big 2-1 shootout victory over Phoenix.

So, all told, the Leafs are 2-5-0 since 24/7 started. Which isn’t great, and probably why Carlyle isn’t happy.

“I’ve talked about white noise and I’ve talked about distraction and this is just another one for us,” he said. “It’s hard in some ways to blame people for not paying attention to it or not being attached to it, but on the other hand, we have a job to do.”

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: