Earlier this season, former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson took aim and blasted Phil Kessel in a radio interview when Randy Carlyle lost his job.
More than two months later, and with the Leafs near the end of a tumultuous season, Wilson has spoken out about Nazem Kadri, who was punished three games for what started out as missing a team meeting and culminated with the ban and being told publicly by Brendan Shanahan to “grow up.”
Wilson, who coached Kadri in Toronto for parts of three seasons, made the comments while appearing on TSN on Friday.
“My experience was basically difficult,” said Wilson, “because I never felt that Nazem ever listened to me.
“And it was all evidence in we would say, ‘Don’t turn the puck over.’ And the next shift Nazem would go out there and turn the puck over. If we had drawn a hard line with him and sent him down to the minors and made (an) example of him early on in his career, he might not be doing these things now.
“He might’ve been reformed. But as this has gone on and on, it keeps getting worse. He’s still making the same mistakes he did as a rookie. He’s better, obviously. He’s physically better. But he still has a tendency to turn the puck over at the offensive blue line. That has to be rooted out of him.”
Kadri is expected back in Toronto’s lineup Saturday against the Canucks in Vancouver.
Devan Dubnyk didn’t get the night off. And once again, he delivered a solid performance for the Minnesota Wild. Now, if only Minnesota had found a way to score that second goal.
Despite out-shooting the opposition, the Wild lost 2-1 to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday, but it maintains the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. John Gibson made 32 saves.
And now the Wild will look to get back into the win column when it heads out on the road to face the Central Division-leading St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
There was no miracle comeback for the Calgary Flames.
It wasn’t necessary. They were facing a beleaguered Toronto Maple Leafs team that continues to descend in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Flames jumped back into second in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of the Vancouver Canucks and two better than the L.A. Kings, after smoking the Leafs by a final score of 6-3 on Friday. Calgary built up a lead thanks to a four-goal first-period and cruised from there.
And in the absence of their captain and best defenseman Mark Giordano, the Flames are 5-0-1. They continue to win, even as pundits predicted they would, at some point this season, falter, and it’s turned them into one of the surprise playoff-contending stories, with the post-season quickly approaching.
Lance Bouma was given a major penalty and ejected in the first period after kneeing Leafs forward Brandon Kozun.
Despite giving Toronto a five-minute power play to work with, maybe try to take control of the game, the Flames scored twice while short-handed. Game over.
Been a while since the Flames did that.
The Leafs are in Vancouver for a Saturday tilt with the Canucks. Nazem Kadri is expected back in Toronto’s lineup after his three-game punishment.
A loss to the Dallas Stars, and Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz had enough.
The Capitals have won only three times in their last nine games, with their latest loss coming Friday to the Stars by a final score of 4-2. Washington still maintains the first Wild Card spot in the East, and is seven points up on the Ottawa Senators.
But the Capitals aren’t hitting their stride right now, at a time when other teams are doing just that as they enter the playoffs, and Trotz didn’t hold back, as he tries to halt his team’s recent struggles.
“Right now, we’ve got too many passengers,” said Trotz to reporters, as per a video posted by the Capitals.
“You can’t carry another guy on your back. This league is way too good. If there’s a guy next to you not pulling his weight, you can’t carry him. You either get rid of him or give him a shake and tell him to get on the bus and traveling in the right direction.
“I don’t think right now we can say we’re a good hockey team. I can’t say that.”
One of the National Hockey League’s best stories of late got even better.
Andrew Hammond, otherwise known as the Hamburglar, came up big for the Ottawa Senators once again, this time stopping 34 of the 35 shots he faced in a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday. This from a 27-year-old netminder who is now up to a whopping 12 NHL games experience. He has still never lost an NHL game in regulation.
Kyle Turris scored to give Ottawa a 2-0 lead late in the second period, which was actually dominated on the shot clock by the Islanders. Only difference was, New York couldn’t find the back of the net until the third period. In the end, it turned out to be too little, too late. The Turris goal was the eventual winner.
That’s now five wins in the last six games for the Senators.
And it keeps them in the playoff hunt, too. They’re still five points back of the Boston Bruins for the final Wild Card spot. Those two teams are on a collision course for what is shaping up to be a pivotal game in Ottawa next Thursday.