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Posted On Monday, 11.23.2015 / 12:53 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Bruins at Maple Leafs

TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer said he believes the key to a good end result lies in having a good start.

Reimer, who will make his 11th start in the past 12 games, thinks the Maple Leafs (7-10-4) need to come out strong when they host the Boston Bruins (10-8-1) at Air Canada Centre on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, NESN, TSN4).

The teams played Saturday, a 2-0 Bruins win at TD Garden in Boston.

"I think we need a better start," Reimer said Monday. "I don't think we were happy with our start last game. We have to keep working hard. It was anybody's game the other night and if we can clean up a few things then hopefully we'll have a better outcome."

Posted On Tuesday, 11.17.2015 / 1:00 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche vs. Maple Leafs

TORONTO – Goalie James Reimer will start for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday at Air Canada Centre.

Reimer, named the NHL's third star for the week ending Nov. 15, has won three straight. Jonathan Bernier played in a 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday.

Reimer doesn't believe having Sunday off will hurt his ability to continue playing at a high level.

"I don't think it will affect me," Reimer said. "It's one of those things where I have been feeling good so I'll just try to keep the good feeling going. We have been playing really well as a team and when that happens everyone has success."

Posted On Saturday, 11.14.2015 / 12:24 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canucks at Maple Leafs

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs' group of centers hope they can break out of a season-long scoring slump when they host the Vancouver Canucks at Air Canada Centre on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC).

Although the Maple Leafs have points in four straight games (2-0-2), their centers have struggled to find the net. Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak, Peter Holland, Nick Spaling and Byron Froese have combined to play 62 games this season but have scored five goals. Holland has been shifted to right wing.

"I think we're getting a lot of good looks. It's just a matter of us putting them in," said Kadri, who has one goal in 16 games but is third in the League with a Maple Leafs-high 70 shots on goal. "We've had some bad breaks. But at the same time we're finding ways to win games lately and it's going to be even better once we find ways to put the puck in the back of the net."

Toronto coach Mike Babcock has been complimentary of Kadri's overall performance.

"This is my two cents on [Kadri]," he said. "He has been in my opinion the best forward on our team. He competes every night. He's in on all the chances. He generates a ton. He's a way better player than I expected. In the 100-mile journey he's on mile 25. He's going to get way better as long as he competes. If he wants to be good he's going to be good. It's up to him."

Posted On Monday, 11.09.2015 / 11:13 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

Nicklas Lidstrom: 'I certainly didn't get here by myself'

TORONTO -- Nicklas Lidstrom said there is an old saying in Sweden that, when translated to English, means, "Things never turn out the way you imagined."

Lidstrom said that is reflective of his hockey career.

Lidstrom said he grew up like most kids shooting pucks in the backyard, playing at the local rink and dreaming of scoring the big goal in the championship game.

"But for all the dreams I had playing hockey as a child, I never imagined a night like this," Lidstrom said. "As kids who learn to fall in love with the game all the way through to being a professional, you play with one thing in mind: To win. Win the medal, win the Cup, win the series, the game. …every night you try your best to win, but you can't win this. You can't win the Hall of Fame. It's an honor that we have no control over and one I could never imagine as a kid shooting pucks in the driveway."

Posted On Monday, 11.09.2015 / 8:57 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

Hay's passion at grass roots leads to Hall induction

TORONTO -- During his 15 years as the chairman and CEO of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Bill Hay handed out 61 plaques to honored inductees.

Not one of them, he said, ever read what was written on their plaque.

So when Hay received his plaque from chairman John Davidson as part of the Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2015, the first thing he did was read it to the audience.

The plaque highlighted his long career as a player and builder. One year after helping Colorado College win the NCAA championship in 1960, he joined the Chicago Blackhawks and won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup that season.

Posted On Monday, 11.09.2015 / 7:23 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

Red Wings executive took gamble drafting Fedorov

TORONTO -- When you have a team full of future Hall of Famers, winning is expected.

On the day when two former members of the Detroit Red Wings, defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and center Sergei Fedorov, were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Jim Devellano reminisced about the 2001-02 season. Detroit won its third of four Stanley Cups between 1997 and 2008.

"For [general manager] Ken Holland and myself, we were very nervous," Devellano, the Senior Vice President of the Red Wings said. "If we didn't win with that team. …holy cow! I mean we had Brett Hull, Dominik Hasek, Luc Robitaille, Igor Larionov, [Steve] Yzerman, Fedorov, Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan and Scotty Bowman. What a crew."

Posted On Monday, 11.09.2015 / 7:13 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

Former NHL defenseman Salming enjoys current style

TORONTO -- When Borje Salming broke into the NHL as a defenseman with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1973, he was targeted by the League's toughest players; first because they wanted to see if he could stand up to physical abuse, but also because some players felt Europeans were stealing their jobs.

But with the speed and skill throughout the League in today's game, fighting in the NHL has been reduced to the point that a month into the season there are still three teams that do not have a single fighting major penalty.

"It probably would have been much better for me," Salming, 64, said Monday. "I used to say to people that Inge Hammarstrom, who came to Toronto with me, would have been great in today's game. When he came in he scored 20 goals, but he had exceptional skills and skating.

"I love today's game. That is the way hockey should be played."

Posted On Monday, 11.09.2015 / 7:00 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame blog

Stars GM Nill raves about NHL's young talent

TORONTO -- If this generation of young stars in the NHL feel they need a spokesman, they may have one in Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill.

Nill should know; he has two skating on his top line in forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. But he believes there are many others across the League.

"Guys like (Edmonton Oilers center) Connor McDavid or our guys, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, these guys are elite athletes," Nill said Monday. "I think the young players today might be even better than the younger players from 20 years ago. They are more worldly. They have all [played] on national junior teams and the pressure doesn't seem to get to them. These guys are driven. Our game has never been better."

Posted On Friday, 11.06.2015 / 1:31 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Red Wings at Maple Leafs

TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri has one goal in 12 games but coach Mike Babcock said Friday he has liked a lot of things about Kadri's game.

"I read something this morning about Nazem Kadri having a slow start," Babcock said after the Maple Leafs practiced Friday ahead of their game against the Detroit Red Wings at Air Canada Centre (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, FS-D, TSN4). "I think he's having the best start of his career. I think he has been phenomenal. So what I see and what [the media] sees sometimes is not the same thing. But that's no big deal."

Babcock said the fact Kadri has one goal is not a reflection of his effort.

"I think he is becoming a real player," Babcock said. "He competes on both sides of the puck and makes his teammates better. I think he's getting better every day."

Posted On Wednesday, 11.04.2015 / 12:39 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Jets at Maple Leafs

TORONTO -- James Reimer and the Toronto Maple Leafs will try to make it two wins in a row when they host the Winnipeg Jets at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; SN, SN1).

Reimer, 27, was in goal when the Maple Leafs won 4-1 against the Dallas Stars on Monday for their first home win of the season. Following the game Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said he'd go back to Reimer against the Jets, and if he wins that game he'll continue to play.

That was music to Reimer's ears.

"Like I have been saying, you want to get the opportunity to in there and play well and win games and get the chance to start again," Reimer said Wednesday. "Whatever the stipulations are you get another chance. And if you play well you hope you get the chance to be there for the boys."

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Yeah, I guess so. That empty-netter was pretty lucky, but I'll take it.

— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
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