Tag: Matthew Stajan

Don Cherry

Don Cherry blasts Burke for Leafs’ lack of Ontario natives


Listening to Don Cherry, you would get the impression that rather than fire coach Ron Wilson, Brian Burke should have signed a player from Ontario.

On Saturday night, what started with an inquiry on CBC’s Coach’s Corner about the Leafs coaching change ended with Cherry complaining about how Toronto is the only NHL team without a player from Ontario on their active roster.

Typically local players do become fan favorites, although St. Catharines, Ontario native Bryan McCabe would argue that isn’t always the case. Besides, it’s not as if Burke has avoided Ontario players. In the 2011 NHL entry draft, Toronto used the 25th overall pick to select Stuart Percy, who was born in Oakville, Ontario and has played in the Ontario Hockey League. The Leafs’ next pick, which didn’t come until the third round, was another Ontario-native, Josh Leivo.

In addition to that, the Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, has several Ontario-born players. The most noteworthy of which is Nazem Kadri, who has played in 19 games with the Maple Leafs this season. At the end of the day, it’s the players’ skill that matters. We can assume that Leafs fans would rather have Markham-born Steve Stamkos instead of Matthew Lombardi, but they wouldn’t trade Phil Kessel to get back Mississauga-native Matthew Stajan.

Jay Feaster would like to trade Matthew Stajan; We would like a pony

Jay Feaster

Flames GM Jay Feaster has a lot of things he’d like to get done in Calgary before too long. His main goal in Calgary is to try and get rid of a lot of the bad money they have on their payroll and there’s a few ways he can go about that. One of them, according to Bruce Garrioch, is dealing away center Matt Stajan.

There’s a Radiohead song with lyrics for Feaster about all this: “Don’t get any big ideas/They’re not gonna happen”

The Flames’ distaste for Stajan’s play in Calgary is well known and even during training camp this year, Flames coach Brent Sutter made it rather clear he’d rather not have Stajan around to muck things up for him.

Garrioch also hints that the Flames would happily move Olli Jokinen if they could and would also move guys like David Moss and Niklas Hagman as well. That Dion Phaneuf trade two years ago is really looking like a winner now.

We’re sure that Feaster would like to get all of these guys out of town and get something useful in return, but hoping and being able to pull it off are two entirely different things. We hope that a bag of money or a pony will show up for us all the time but alas, we’re poor and pony-free just the same.

If Feaster is going to get something done, he’d better burn up those phone lines.

Paging Matthew Stajan? Calgary’s Mikael Backlund out six weeks with broken finger

Mikael Backlund

In a perfect world for the Calgary Flames, Jarome Iginla would play until he’s 100 years-old and not miss a beat. They’d also like to have a healthy crew of centers so that all their lines would at least have pivots they can bank on. Instead, Calgary heads into the season with Brendan Morrison hurting and now they’ve got another problem to sweat out with young center Mikael Backlund being put out of action for six weeks thanks to a broken finger.

Without Morrison and Backlund, the bulk of the offensive burden at center falls on Olli Jokinen. At least for Calgary, Jokinen found his touch again last season. As for who else they’ll look to fill things out up the middle, there’s a rather uninspiring list of candidates to choose from as Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald makes note of.

As a rookie, Backlund registered 10 goals and 25 points last season with the Flames. His absence leaves the NHL club awfully thin up the middle with Olli Jokinen, Matt Stajan and Roman Horak the only natural centres.

David Moss can move inside from the wing, if necessary. Brendan Morrison, 36, is still recovering from off-season knee surgery.

Jokinen we know about already. Horak is a youngster who made a name for himself in camp and is getting a shot to prove himself. David Moss is generally better off on the right wing than at center.

That leaves Matthew Stajan as the guy needing to step up and help the team out in their time of need. Stajan is one of many Maple Leafs castoffs in Calgary and while vets like Morrison and Jokinen have reignited their games in Calgary, Stajan hasn’t exactly grabbed the opportunity by the reins.

Pressed for comment about the unachieving centreman — who had a couple of nice moments in pre-season games — Flames coach Brent Sutter offered a lukewarm appraisal.

“He’s got to continue to get better,” Sutter said of the 27-year-old who represents a $3.5 million cap bite. “He had an OK camp, OK exhibition (games). Staje has been fine.”

“So Staje has to push to get in that mix,” said Sutter, “and that’s where it’s at. He’s had a decent camp. It hasn’t been outstanding, but he’s played OK.”

If Sutter had lightly praised Stajan any more he might’ve fallen asleep doing it. Stajan isn’t the ideal replacement when you’ve got two guys down that could/would be higher on the depth chart for center. Times are tough in the meantime though and Stajan will need to be the guy to keep the Flames from starting off poorly.

If you’re hoping for a miracle, however, don’t hold your breath. In Stajan’s 103 games as a Flame he has nine goals and 38 assists. In other words Flames fans, you’re hoping for speedy recoveries for both Morrison and Backlund.