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NHL on TSN Quiz: Boudreau's rant, NHL in Saskatoon and more

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TSN.ca Staff
12/16/2009 9:33:52 PM
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Each week, the NHL on TSN panel voices its opinions on the hot topics of the day in the Wednesday Night Hockey Quiz.

As a follow-up, TSN.ca offers you the opportunity to chime in on all the big issues with our insiders. Read up on all the questions and answers from TSN's hockey experts, and put in your own two cents on our popular Your! Call feature.

Question #1: What is the biggest factor in Toronto's turnaround since they hit rock bottom back on November 19th, gave up that goal in the last three seconds against Carolina and lost in the shootout? Is it improved play by Francois Beauchemin, Mike Komisarek and the defence, is it Phil Kessel and the offence, or is it better goaltending?

Bob McKenzie: I'll say Vesa Toskala. We heard Ron Wilson talk about it. That's the reason for everything they've been able to do in terms of building some confidence. Ever since Jonas Gustavsson went down with his heart condition and Toskala came back from injury, that's been the critical factor. They've been making some saves and getting some momentum.

Keith Jones: For me it is Phil Kessel. He has changed the entire complexion of the Maple Leafs, offensively. When you have a gamebreaker like Kessel, it opens up more ice for everybody. I love the fact that Kessel wants the puck on his stick, he wants to be the guy firing it. It was a terrific off-season move by Brian Burke and it's paid huge dividends.

Craig MacTavish: Toskala - I agree with Bob. You cannot win at this level if you get outplayed in that position and Toskala did early on in the year - now he's outplaying the opponent so it's a huge advantage.

Question #2: If you could take one of the Junior-eligible players who is not available because he is playing in the NHL, who would that be? Matt Duchene, Tyler Myers, Steven Stamkos or John Tavares?

Jones: For me it's Duchene. He would be tremendously motivated, seeing as he did not make the team last year. He just continues to impress me at the NHL level. He gets better with each game played and remember, he's got 20 points for the Avalanche already. Most of those games have been played on the road. Look for his numbers to increase exponentially in the near future.

McKenzie: No question, it's Steven Stamkos for me. Here's a guy that's in his second NHL season, he's been in hard times lately but he's been ripping it up offensively from last year's All-Star break all the way through to now. He has dynamic speed and skill and he uses his speed both on offence and defence. He's just what the doctor would order for Team Canada.

MacTavish: Tavares for me. Give me the goal-scorer. I know I took Myers for who I'd build a team around two weeks ago, but I'm taking the goal-scorer in a short tournament - it's a different animal.

Question #3: Thumbs up or thumbs down to potential Phoenix Coyotes owner Ice Edge's plan to play five home games in Saskatoon?

MacTavish: Thumbs down. "Wild" Bill Hunter is up above smiling down at the prospect of finally getting NHL hockey to Saskatoon, but I don't believe in out-of-sight home games. Another four or five road games for the Coyotes? Thumbs down.

Jones: I'm a thumbs down, too. This one's easy for me - play in your own home arena, build your own home fan base, and Phoenix dearly needs to play a lot of games and bring in more fans and, the way they played tonight, they're playing pretty impressively.

McKenzie: Thumbs down. If you can't fill your building or you can't make a go of it in 41 home games there, then don't stay there.

Question #4: In his rant against David Koci after the hit on Mike Green (see attached video entitled "What Good Is He?"), did Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, in the immortal words of one Dickie Dunn from Slap Shot, "capture the spirit of the thing" or was that just plain mean-spirited?

McKenzie: I'll say he captured the spirit of the thing. Boudreau should know because he was in Slap Shot, and if anybody knows who can play in the American Hockey League, it would be Boudreau. A star player got injured on a cheap shot that Boudreau doesn't believe should be in the NHL. Now people are going to be critical because a coach was critical of a player. Every guy can't be cast for milquetoast - it's good for Boudreau to say something interesting and provocative.

MacTavish: Mean-spirited. I understand why he said it - he saw a star player lying motionless on the ice. But I've got some empathy for these tough guys. They do a tough job and a lot of the time they're really good-energy guys in your locker room.

Jones: He captured the spirit for me, I agree with Bob. I like the fact that he went after the player.

Bruce Boudreau (Photo: Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)
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