Legal analyst Eric Macramalla discusses the Joffrey Lupul fiasco, Pierre McGuire calls Leafs’ center depth as good as any in the East, and more in the links.


Leafs Links

Babcock on keeping Hyman with Matthews, Grundstrom’s standout camp (MLHS)
Grundstrom looks like a real hockey player to me. Every day I go out there, every day he has the puck and every day he skates faster than everyone else. Every day he is more physical and every day he shoots the puck in the net. Pretty soon, even a smart guy like me catches on and says, “Hey, this guy might be alright.” That’s all I do. I go out there and just watch. If you do good things, we catch on over time.

Macramalla: The league needs to examine Lupul’s situation (TSN1050)
TSN legal analyst Eric Macramalla joined In The Box to talk about the Joffrey Lupul situation in Toronto.

If you read Lupul’s online apology, at no point in that apology does he say that he didn’t tell the truth. At no point in that apology does he say he’s not able to play now. It’s a claim that requires some examination from the league under article 27 of the CBA.

I say that because there’s context and the context is Lou Lamoriello. The first case that I covered as a legal analyst was the Ilya Kovalchuk contract — a 14-year deal with six throwaway years at the end, signed to artificially lower the salary cap amount. I said then that it was clearly a circumvention… You’ve got other players — Mogilny, Malakhov — that Lou has had some fun with; some fun with numbers. We know he generally doesn’t elect to play by the rules. That’s the context here. Add that to Lupul’s comments. Add that to Robidas, who was also put on LTIR and magically now has a job with the Leafs; it’s circumvention if you provide a player with compensation with a consideration outside of the four corners of their contract. That warrants a bit of attention as well.

I look at the surrounding circumstances and I look at the totality of the record here, and I believe that the NHL is justified in opening up an investigation against the Leafs and Lamoriello.

On whether the fact that the Leafs didn’t use the cap relief is relevant:

Let me add this: Last year, the Leafs didn’t use up his cap space. They put him on LTIR. This is the second season going on LTIR. That’s not an issue. That’s not relevant or pertinent. It’s not what you do with the unlawful gain of cap space; it is whether you acquire the cap space in an unlawful way. That’s the test. I don’t care what you did with the cap space when you got it. Cap space gives you flexibility and gives you an opportunity, for example, to acquire Nathan Horton plus draft picks and have that cap space when he arrives.

Ferraro: Andreas Borgman reminded me of a Darius Kasparaitis (TSN1050)
TSN Hockey Analyst Ray Ferraro joined the guys on OverDrive to break down who caught his eye during the Leafs second pre-season game of the year & his thoughts about being up close to watch the new face-off rule in the NHL.

I kind of liked Borgman. I’m not sure that he played very well, but I liked that he’s feisty and he goes forward. You know who he reminded me of? Darius Kasparaitis. Kind of the same build and he hits straightforward. I kind of like the way he looks for just getting going over here.

McGuire: Leafs depth at centre could be tops in the East (TSN1050)
NHL on NBC analyst Pierre McGuire joined Leafs Lunch to discuss how the importance of preseason has evolved, the new face-off rules, and Toronto’s depth at the centre position.

Look at their center-ice position. Let’s say Kadri plays in the three hole and Bozak plays in the two hole, and Auston plays in the one hole. Tell me the teams in the Eastern Conference who are better than that?

How Calle Rosén went from an unknown to knocking on Leafs door (Sportsnet)
Rosén spoke directly to some general managers, including Lou Lamoriello, after the list of suitors was whittled down to a more manageable number. Mike Babcock made a strong impression as the only head coach to give him a call during the process. There was a good rapport with the Leafs throughout – “No salesman’s bull—-,” according to Hedin – and Rosén went with his gut in making the final decision.

Leafs’ changing faceoff strategy suggests analytics influence (The Athletic)
This will be worth following as the season goes along. As long as Matthews and Nylander play together, it will be pretty straightforward to see whether Babcock sticks with each player on his strong side. The more interesting thing to keep an eye on will be how he manages Kadri in the absence of a right-handed player on his line to take faceoffs. If Babcock is really committed to this, look for the Kadri line to tend to start on the left side of the ice more often, with Bozak perhaps replacing a winger to take critical draws on the right side where Babcock wants Kadri/Komarov on the ice for matchup purposes.

Here are 5 things to like about Leafs training camp so far (Toronto Star)
Arguably the most interesting, and most competitive, job battle in camp surrounds the bottom end of the defensive corps. At least five of the jobs on the blue line are spoken for, but the sixth and seventh slots appear wide open for the taking. Rookies have turned these jobs into battles, with the likes of Travis Dermott, Timothy Liljegren and Andrew Nielsen given every opportunity to make an impression. Add in Swedish duo Andreas Borgman and Calle Rosen to the mix and there’s a lot to watch for over the next couple weeks.

Polak takes the long, painful road back to Leafs: Arthur (Toronto Star)
Morgan Rielly tells the story of a team karaoke night during training camp at Blue Mountain in 2015, and how he and some of the younger players like Jake Gardiner and Matt Frattin were nervous, and didn’t do very well. Next up went Polak, still new to the team, and he belted out the 80s song Life is Life, parading through the crowd, dancing with his teammates. He didn’t know all the words, but he let it all hang out. People were dying laughing: this big scowling serious man, acting the fool.

All eyes on Polak as Maple Leafs’ blue-line battle ramps up (Toronto Sun)
While he has not yet appeared in an exhibition game, Roman Polak, who arrived last week on a PTO contract, could end up being in Toronto’s plans, claiming a spot ahead of those the Leafs had hoped would step into the No. 6 or No. 7 defencemen roles. That’s based on Martin Marincin not feeling the love from coach Mike Babcock, going back to the end of last season and continuing Tuesday, with Marincin having an uneven game in the club’s second-straight pre-season loss to the Ottawa Senators.

Preseason Buzz: Marleau off to fast start with Maple Leafs (NHL.com)
“Patty was fine, I’m not very concerned about Patty. I think anytime you come to a new environment, you like to get off to a good start,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “He’ll be energized and excited just because he’s in a new environment, because it’s different for him and it’s a change.”

31 Thoughts: Would teams want tougher policing on LTIR? (Sportsnet)
Lupul’s initial Instagram post revealed what has long been suspected: he does not like that the Maple Leafs decided they don’t want him around. After the great disappointment of 2014-15, the organization made it clear things were going to change and certain personalities were not long for the city. I don’t profess to know the exact reason, but the team took the first opportunity it could to remove him. This was Lupul’s way of stating his disapproval. It’s not easy for him to be banished as Toronto appears on the rise.


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