Bolland’s play a huge boon to Maple Leafs success


When the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for Dave Bolland over the summer, not many people thought they were getting as good of a player as he’s been early on this season.

Through 12 games, Bolland has 10 points including six goals. On top of that he’s often been matching up against the opponents’ top centers, as was the case in the Maple Leafs’ 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle told reporters following last night’s game, as Chris Johnston of Sportsnet shares, he’s been invaluable so far.

“He’s been everything that we’ve asked,” Carlyle gushed when asked about Bolland. “He’s a model for our younger players.”

Further to that, Carlyle holds Bolland up as an example to other players on how to prepare correctly for games.

While Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk pile up the points, Bolland is doing that and working his defensive game to the tune of playing over 20 minutes a game. Maybe buying out Mikhail Grabovski was the right move for Toronto after all.

Toews after loss to Wild: ‘We know we want to be better than that’


Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews wasn’t very pleased with his team after losing to the Minnesota Wild 5-3 on Saturday night.

Toews told reporters following the game he knows his team is better than they’ve shown as Tracey Myers of CSNChicago.com shared.

“We know we want to be better than that,” Jonathan Toews said. “That’s two games in a row that we gave up five goals or more. It’s one thing that people are talking about us not scoring but sometimes you don’t need to score that many to win if you’re playing good defensively. We had breakdowns, we had turnovers inside our zone, we had miscommunications and some penalties that we shouldn’t have taken.”

The defensive breakdowns by the Blackhawks are something too new to the team. After showing last season during their Stanley Cup run, they’re more than capable of keeping opponents off the score sheet.

After dropping this game to the Wild and a firewagon hockey-like 6-5 overtime game to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Blackhawks have some things to figure out before they play the Wild again on Monday.

Clarkson set to make Leafs debut following suspension


Toronto Maple Leafs fans will finally get their first look at David Clarkson in a regular season game.

Clarkson’s 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to fight Buffalo’s John Scott in a preseason game is through and tonight he’ll be suiting up on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets. As the Canadian Press’ Stephen Whyno shares, he’s ready to get it started.

“It’s like Christmas: You used to open up the box there’d be a chocolate and then another chocolate,” Clarkson said jokingly. “I got a box at home, I get my daughter to open it. No, but I’ve been definitely checking off the dates and getting ready to go.”

Clarkson practiced on a line with Dave Bolland and Mason Raymond on Thursday and that line was already one of Toronto’s more productive ones this season.

Of course, Joffrey Lupul departed practice after being struck on the foot by a Paul Ranger shot so they may not be at as loaded up front as they hoped. Nikolai Kulemin is still out with an ankle injury.

Dan Boyle isn’t taking Maxim Lapierre’s calls


San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle is on the road to recovery after being knocked unconscious by a hit from behind by St. Louis Blues forward Maxim Lapierre on October 15. One thing he’s not doing, however, is easily forgiving Lapierre.

Boyle spoke with reporters for the first time since the incident and says he doesn’t remember anything about it happening. After watching video of the incident, he’s not pleased with how it went down as Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com shares.

“He left a message. I think it’s been documented that I didn’t take the call. I’ll leave it at that for now,” Boyle said.

Lapierre apologized for the hit, but that and $5 will get you a coffee at Starbucks. He was suspended five games for the hit from behind.

Boyle skated on Thursday for the first time since the incident and says he hopes to be back in action before the end of the Sharks’ current road trip.

PHT Morning Skate: Schneider feeling pressure of being Devils’ No. 1

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Cory Schneider says he has to be a lot better. It’s tough being a No. 1 guy. (Star-Ledger)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Friday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 7pm ET. Here’s the link.

The Blues are rolling out a new set of forward lines and can’t wait to use them. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Ondrej Pavelec is getting frustrated. Another overtime loss will do that. (Winnipeg Sun)

Shane Doan is a really big fan of teammate Oliver Ekman-Larsson. (Mayor’s Manor)

John MacKinnon says the Oilers will be better when they get better at the basic parts of the game. (Edmonton Journal)

Winnipeg’s Anthony Peluso can be very proud of how he scored his first NHL goal. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Finally, the ovation the Bell Centre crowd in Montreal gave to Saku Koivu on Thursday night was something really special. Warning: Goosebumps ahead. (NHL.com)