It really wasn’t that long ago that the Toronto Maple Leafs had a real shot at making the playoffs. (No, seriously.)
At this point, the Maple Leafs are in tank mode, though – whether that’s by choice or not.
The latter point is strengthened by a series of injuries, which might open up another opportunity for prodigal prospect Nazem Kadri. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that injuries to Joffrey Lupul, Nikolai Kulemin and Mike Brown might be part of the reason Kadri’s been called up.
You can break Kadri’s runs in 2011-12 into three categories now that he’s back up for at least a cup of coffee. Here’s how the first two spans went:
Oct. 20-24: three games, one assist
Dec. 22-Jan. 31: 16 games, four goals and one assist
For all the hype Kadri’s gotten since being drafted seventh overall in 2009, he hasn’t really justified the attention that naturally comes from Toronto. At 21 years old it’s ridiculous to close the book on him, however, but you have to wonder if this last stretch might have an impact on his future with the Leafs.
Who knows if he’ll actually get a start out of this, but even if it’s just a symbolic move, it’s still great to see that Ray Emery will dress in an NHL game again. NHL.com reports that the Anaheim Ducks recalled Emery from the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch today to serve as a backup.
It’s hard to believe that it’s only been about a year since Emery was forced to undergo surgery on a hip injury that left many wondering if his playing days would be over. In fact, word is that Emery’s hip issues were similar to the ones that sent multi-sport icon Bo Jackson into retirement.
Emery is showing some impressive courage in fighting back from the injury and it seems like the read is “so far, so good.” He went 2-1-0 with the Crunch, with an impressive 92.6 save percentage and 2.62 Goals Against Average.
We’ll let you know if he eventually gets a full-fledged start, but either way, it’s an impressive story.
(Ray Emery photo via The Associated Press.)
The Pittsburgh Penguins managed to win a nice chunk of games without Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin this season, but it seems like that lack of offensive punch started to rear its ugly head in their last two games.
Crosby addressed the media about his recovery today, saying that he hopes to return this season but there is “no timetable” for his return.
Crosby admits that it is “impossible to gauge” how long it will take for him to return, but he sure hopes that he’ll play again this season.
NHL.com provides video footage of Crosby’s discussion with the media.
In other Penguins news, the team recalled four players from Wilkes-Barre/Scanton today: Ryan Craig, Nick Johnson, Brett Sterling and Joe Vitale. Maybe they’ll get a shot in the arm from the likes of Sterling? Chances are the team, needs to improve via trade, but you cannot blame Ray Shero for seeing what happens with these minor leaguers.