Author Archive

About "Terry Koshan"

The 2011 CFL season marks Terry Koshan's fourth year on the Argonauts beat after several years covering the Maple Leafs, though he has kept a finger in that pie during the past few winters. Koshan has been working in the Sun sports department since September 1996. He has covered various sporting events, among them kick-boxing in Vaughan (where he was told to sit no closer than 10 rows to the ring, lest he be splashed by flying blood) the world junior hockey championship (watching Jonathan Toews' shootout tricks against the U.S. in Sweden in 2007 was a treat) and the Maple Leafs in St. John's, Nfld. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a Master of Arts in journalism, Koshan lives in Georgetown, Ont.

Leafs’ inconsistencies worse than a non-salute

- November 21st, 2014

So the Maple Leafs didn’t skate to centre ice and salute the fans following a 5-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
Who cares?
This is what brings the Leafs’ leadership into question?
How about the cold, hard fact that Leafs fans have no idea what kind of team will arrive at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night to play the Detroit Red Wings?
Was it wise for the Leafs to snub their fans after beating Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning? Not really. The optics stink.
Yet any kerfuffle over the act, or lack of act, doesn’t do much other than bump up against the bigger, more important problems with the Leafs.
The Leafs are 10-8-2 after 20 games. On some nights they’ve been good. On others, they have been brutal.
That’s more or less what is expected from teams that are on the bubble to make the playoffs (we were in the group predicted in the pre-season the Leafs would miss the post-season again. Not exactly going out on a limb, to be sure).
With the team at the quarter pole, there has been some discussion about the Leafs’ search for an identity. They have one — their identity is that they are a wildly inconsistent group. It has been solidified with captain Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak as the leadership core, it has been solidified with Randy Carlyle as coach. There has not been much to indicate that will change.
If you’re a Leafs fan and the non-salute bothers you, fine. But you’ve seen much worse from the Leafs on the ice at the ACC, and in other buildings in the National Hockey League. That might stick in your craw just a little more.
It would be no surprise if the Leafs head to centre ice and raise their sticks if they beat the Red Wings on Saturday night. It would keep with their inability to have consistency just about every other time they lace up their skates.

Gauthier named captain for QMJHL

- November 18th, 2014

It’s a feather in the camp for Frederik Gauthier, but one that should not come as a surprise.
Gauthier has been named captain of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team that will take on Russia in two games (Tuesday and Thursday) in the Subway Super Series.
Of the 11 possible returning players from the Canada team that finished fourth in the world junior last year, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Gauthier is the only position player in the QMJHL in that group.
The 19-year-old forward has five points in eight games for the Rimouski Oceanic since returning from a rib injury.
Gauthier, as long as he stays healthy, should be an integral player for Canada at the 2015 world junior in Montreal and Toronto, one who would be among those getting the call for key faceoffs and possibly an expanded penalty-killing role.
Gauthier won 62.5% (25 for 40) of faceoffs he took in the world junior last winter in Malmo, Sweden. Two other important faceoff men for Canada, Curtis Lazar and Jonathan Drouin, might not be made available this year by their respective NHL teams, Ottawa and Tampa Bay.
Bo Horvat led Canada in the faceoff circle last year with a 63.5% winning percentage. Like Lazar and Drouin, he is eligible to return, but that decision has not been made by the Vancouver Canucks.

Carlyle thinks Leafs will face a ‘snarly’ Sabres team

- November 15th, 2014

BUFFALO — There might be little evidence from the way the Buffalo Sabres have played lately, but Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle expects his players to have a stern test against the NHL’s worst team on Saturday.
“I think you don’t look at anything other than we know they are a proud group,” Carlyle said during a late-afternoon availability with reporters.
“They are playing in front of their fans, there has been a lot of challenges for their hockey club. I would expect a snarly hockey club in the Buffalo Sabres playing here tonight.”
The Leafs recalled defenceman Korbinian Holzer from the Toronto Marlies as a precaution.
“With us only having six defencemen, we felt it was necessary to have some support in case somebody came down with some kind of an illness,” Carlyle said. “We do have some players who have some bumps and bruises. We aren’t any different than any other hockey club. We have an extra forward here, we have an extra defenceman if we so choose.”
The Leafs beat the Sabres 4-0 in the team’s previous meeting this season on Oct. 28 in Toronto. When asked about facing the Sabres, Leafs forward Daniel drew an analogy from a couple of Leafs performances against the Boston Bruins.
Boston beat the Leafs 4-1 on Oct. 25, but Toronto triumphed easily in a 6-1 win over the Bruins this past Wednesday.
“The way we beat them the last time is similar to how Boston beat us the first time we played and we came back and we had a great game against them earlier this week,” Winnik said, “so we are expecting an effort from them very similar to us against Boston.”
When the Leafs lost 2-1 against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, it snapped a three-game winning streak. The Leafs allowed 40 shots, the fourth time in 17 games this season they have seen the opponent get at least 40 shots on goal.
“Just our execution was not on par (with earlier efforts),” Winnik said. “No need for it. I don’t know why we did that. I am sure we will have a better game tonight.”
In the past 15 games between the teams in Buffalo, the Sabres are 13-1-1. James Reimer is expected to start in the Leafs net, while Michal Neuvirth will get the call for the Sabres.

Maatta takes another step, Kessel wows Crosby

- November 13th, 2014

Olli Maatta is back in the game.
The Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman on Thursday practised for the first time with his teammates since he had surgery to remove a tumour in his thyroid gland.
“It was cancerous, but that was what we expected, and it has not changed anything,” Maatta said at the MasterCard Centre. “I want to come back tomorrow. I’ve got to take it easy first. I have to make sure I’m 100% and can help the team when I come back.”
Maatta had surgery on Nov. 4. The original prognosis was that he could return to the Penguins lineup within four weeks, but it appears he will be on the Pittsburgh blue line much sooner.
“I would expect if he reacts positively to the skate today and the doctors take a look at him over the next day or so, he can be back any time in the next five, six days,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. “He’ll definitely be back before the four-week window.”
Maatta certainly has nerves of steel.
“I look at it as a bump in the road,” the 20-year-old said. “I got over it and now I can start playing hockey again.”
*****
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is among those who are in awe of Phil Kessel’s shot.
“He can score (from) anywhere in the offensive zone,” Crosby said.
“He gets it off quick. I think he catches a lot of goalies off-guard because he gets it away so fast. He does not seem to take much off it to get it off that quick. You always have to be aware. With his speed, he can create a lot of time and space for himself. With a shot like that, you try to get stick on puck and limit those as much as you can.”
Kessel scored two goals in a Leafs win against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, giving him 10 in 16 games. Only Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars and Rick Nash of the New York Rangers have scored more goals in 2014-15. Each has 12.

McDavid joins a list of question marks for Canada

- November 12th, 2014

The clock is ticking on Connor McDavid.
With the Erie Otters’ announcement on Wednesday that the superstar will miss five to six weeks with a fracture of the fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand, the question for the Canadian juniors is whether McDavid will be ready for the 2015 world junior championship.
Canada’s first game is on Dec. 26 against Slovakia on Montreal. The 22-player roster has to be submitted to the International Ice Hockey Federation on Dec. 25 (six weeks from Thursday). McDavid will not require surgery, and Hockey Canada is cautiously optimistic he will be ready for the world junior.
The past couple of months had brought some bad news for Canada, which has finished fourth in the past two years in the tournament and has not won gold since 2009. Sam Bennett, a Calgary Flames prospect, saw his world-junior aspirations fizzle when he had shoulder surgery in October.
Then there are the players in the NHL who otherwise would be important cogs for Canada. The list includes Florida Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad and several top-notch forwards: Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche, Jonathan Drouin of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Curtis Lazar of the Ottawa Senators, Bo Horvat of the Vancouver Canucks and Anthony Duclair of the New York Rangers.
It’s not known today how many, if any, of these players will be made available to play for Canada. The selection camp in Toronto begins on Dec. 11, with games on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14 against a team of CIS all-stars.
Much of the immediate reaction to McDavid getting in a fight for the Erie Otters in a game against the Mississauga Steelheads on Tuesday was that the 17-year-old shouldn’t have dropped the gloves.
McDavid has been a target since he started his Ontario Hockey League career in the fall of 2012. That he might finally have had enough? A decision to drop the gloves doesn’t seem so ridiculous.
McDavid’s injury will have no bearing on his draft status next June in Philadelphia. He will go first overall. The consolation prize for the team that picks second is U.S. forward Jack Eichel. It’s a great time to be a bad NHL club.
Canada likes to think it has plenty of depth in its junior ranks, and every year, there is great debate when certain players don’t make the world-junior cut and others do. Without depth, there would be no debate.
Would McDavid’s participation in Montreal and Toronto guarantee a gold? Of course not. But if his hand does not heal as the Otters predict it does, Canada’s chances to end its golden drought will take a hard punch.