James O'Brien

Original Fix? Leafs will reportedly use new logo, uniform next season

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From the “Seriously?” files, it sounds like the Toronto Maple Leafs might use a new logo and uniform during the 2016-17 season.

(No, it’s probably not a rendering of Steven Stamkos smiling with a bunch of money.)

Sports Logos.net’s Chris Creamer was the first to report the potential change:

TSN’s Frank Seravalli points out that Creamer has broken uniform/logo news before, while Rick Westhead adds more fuel to the fire:

Interesting that Westhead went out of his way to note that some fans might like it, huh?

The Leafs/MLSE didn’t confirm or deny these rumors to Sportsnet, merely saying “We will be announcing centennial plans in the new year.”

Do note that they still didn’t exactly say “Yes, we’re making a change,” either … so you never know.

As unthinkable as this seems at first, the Buds aren’t exactly shooting this down. It’s also important to note that, as iconic as this team’s scheme and logo may be, it’s not exactly as if it’s never gone through changes.

Granted, it’s been a long, long time.

If nothing else, it’s provided some entertainment on the Internet.

Get ready for the Stamkos ‘circus’ in Toronto on Tuesday

Jon Cooper, Steven Stamkos
AP
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If you don’t like reading about Steven Stamkos going to the Maple Leafs, this would be a good week to shield your eyes.

The Tampa Bay Lightning head to Toronto on Tuesday a mere week after hockey Twitter exploded over Stamkos’ social media misadventure/deliberate trolling, and yeah, it’s going to be quite the scene.

Just look at this great story from the Tampa Bay Times that forecasts some craziness.

“It’ll be an absolute circus,” TSN’s Jamie McLennan said. “Steven Stamkos gets enough fanfare down (in Tampa), times that by 320 on Tuesday. It’s going to be insane.”

(Aside: interesting number choice by McLennan, right?)

To be fair to those who might make it Stamkos Central, it’s not as if either team is providing much further fodder.

The Leafs are, well, the Leafs. There’s a reason why people are obsessed with the possibility that Stamkos may sign with Toronto as an unrestricted free agent.

Things are rough for the Lightning so far in 2015-16, and it may be a bumpy week. Lightning head coach Jon Cooper believes that Tyler Johnson will miss at least the next three games while Jonathan Drouin and Ondrej Palat are banged up, as well.

In other Lightning news, Andrei Vasilevskiy was recalled.

Related: All about that liked tweet.

Leafs let Kapanen play for Finland in WJC; Nylander call coming soon

Peter Cehlarik Kasperi Kapanen
AP
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The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t rushing Kasperi Kapanen’s development, so it shouldn’t be too big of a surprise that they’re giving him the go-ahead to play for Finland during the 2016 World Junior Championship.

Toronto made as much official on Sunday, while noting that a decision regarding William Nylander’s WJC future will come soon:

It’s remarkable that Kapanen is only 19, as he’s already on an interesting path.

The Pittsburgh Penguins seemed excited about their 2014 first-round pick (22nd overall) … until they weren’t, or at least they were willing to part with Kapanen to make the Phil Kessel trade work.

That, combined with splitting the 2014-15 season between the AHL and Finland, makes for an interesting ride even before he joined the Maple Leafs organization.

Kapanen’s doing solid work in the AHL, but (ideally) dominating at that international tournament could be a nice confidence boost.

Help from Hamburglar? Hammond’s conditioning stint is over

Andrew Hammond
AP

The Ottawa Senators are experiencing some tense times with three losses in four games and an angry coach in Dave Cameron. Could it be time to signal “The Hamburglar” once again?

If nothing else, Andrew Hammond will be available again, as his AHL conditioning stint is over. The Senators recalled Hammond while demoting Chris Driedger.

Driedger didn’t see much action with Craig Anderson occupying the net since mid-November. Even if Hammond remains a backup (rather than pushing in for a platoon), it’s valuable to spell their starter either way.

Even so, some might hope for a little bit more from last season’s savior.

Rangers’ Vigneault says Stepan, Klein resumed skating

Derek Stepan
AP

With three consecutive losses and just two wins in their last 10 games (2-6-2), the New York Rangers are absolutely struggling.

There might be some light at the end of the tunnel, however, as Derek Stepan and Kevin Klein have taken a key step in returning from their respective injuries.

The New York Daily News notes that head coach Alain Vigneault said that Stepan and Klein began skating on their own late last week.

“What I’ve heard from back home is that they are both, Step and Kevin, skating at this time,” Vigneault said. “They started I want to say yesterday (Friday) or the day before (Thursday). What that means for timeframe I don’t know. I just think they’re skating on their own. Everything’s moving forward and we’ll know when we get back.”

The Daily News estimates that Stepan (broken ribs) will out “until after Christmas” while Klein (strained oblique) may return some time in the next 10 days. The team’s skid has more or less coincided with their injuries.

New York’s next game comes against the Edmonton Oilers at MSG on Tuesday.