Following a wild Game 4, Mike chats with Pierre McGuire, Steve Simmons and Darren Dreger about whether Dion Phaneuf and the Leafs will be able to bounce back in Boston on Friday.
Darren Dreger and Steve Simmons discuss the Maple Leafs' overtime loss to the Bruins in Game 4. WATCH!
Pierre McGuire discusses Dion Phaneuf's pinch that lead to David Krejci's winning goal in Game 4. WATCH!
Darren Dutchyshen and John Travolta join Mike Richards in studio for ''That's So Hockey''. WATCH!
Victor Newman makes an appearance on Mike Richards in the Morning to talk about James Reimer's wife. WATCH!
Jonas Siegel recaps the Leafs overtime loss vs. the Bruins in game four, & Ricky Romero's struggles continue as the Blue Jays fall 10-4 vs. the Rays. Hour 1 Audio
Pierre McGuire, Darren Dreger, Steve Simmons recap the Leafs Game Four OT loss vs. the Bruins, & another edition of "That's So Hockey." Hour 2 Audio
Bob Weeks previews the Players Championship, & former NHL player/current Leafs TV Analyst Mark Osborne recaps the Leafs OT loss vs. the Bruins. Hour 3 Audio
It's very difficult not to pin last night's overtime loss on Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf's. After all it was Phaneuf's ill-timed giveaway at the Bruins blue line that lead to David Krejci's game winning goal. The bottom line is that Phaneuf took a high risk/reward play that ultimately backfired in the end. Defenseman Jake Gardiner had a great performance last night, showing much more confidence with the puck & even taking over brief portions of the game with his skating/speed. Game four was a prime example of the unique skill set that a player like Gardiner brings to the Leafs defense. The sad reality is that these teams are at the opposite ends of the spectrum (Leafs are learning how to win in the playoffs & the Bruins are gearing up for a Stanley Cup) Randy Carlyle was troubled with the fact that his squad blew a 2-0 lead after the first period, eventually ending up on the wrong side of an overtime loss. The mood inside the Leafs locker room after the loss was quite upbeat with the players adopting a nothing to lose mentality. All Toronto can do right now is win one game on Friday & see what happens next…
Dion Phaneuf's ill-advised give-away at the Boston blue line in overtime was the byproduct of "an aggressive player trying to make an aggressive play" Another aspect of overtime hockey that most people don't realize is that mistakes are made due to mental/physical fatigue. Jake Gardiner had a great performance last night however his major drawback is poor decision making. These mistakes should decrease once Gardiner gets a little more experience/guidance from Randy Carlyle & company. Tuukka Rask has been very good in this series (which is not surprising because he should have won the Vezina trophy in 2011) The only knock against Rask in the past has been his short tempered nature. The Blues played very well last night in Los Angeles but ended up falling slightly short in overtime. Anze Kopitar & Slava Voynov should be commended as both players had their best game of the series. The New York Rangers won game four last night tying the series at two game apiece. John Tortorella might have coached his best game of the series last night, & now that both teams have held serve this series is officially up for grabs. It should be an exciting game in Pittsburgh tonight, as the Penguins prepare to face a pesky New York Islanders squad with a "never say die" mentality. However, the Penguins should receive a boost in net with veteran backup goalie Tomas Vokoun replacing Marc-Andre Fleury.
Dion Phaneuf will shoulder plenty of blame for last night's inopportune give-away at the Bruins blue line last night. If Phaneuf makes the hit what is accomplished (probably not much) This series has been defined by bad turnovers & the Leafs still don't seem to have an answer for David Krejci's making you wonder "how much this team has left in the tank?" It's going to be very difficult for Toronto to go back to Boston & duplicate last night's effort, because every time the Leafs make a mistake the Bruins rip their heart out. Tuukka Rask has been slightly better than James Reimer in this series however; this could be directly attributed to experience vs. inexperience.
The Players Championship is the closest thing to being a Major (without being a Major) This tournament is littered with some big names & the PGA does a great job of promoting this event to the public. The Players Championship is basically the golf version of the All-Star game & should provide a variety of excitement this weekend. This is a very difficult tournament to handicap because you basically have the best of the best in attendance therefore; it all comes down to who decides to bring their "A" game to the field.
The Maple Leafs do have the ability to bounce back after last night's heartbreaking over time loss, although Randy Carlyle admitted that Boston's overtime goal was essentially "a dagger through the heart." Dion Phaneuf remains a lightning rod for criticism due to the fact that he is the captain & one of the higher paid players on the team. Let's give a bit of credit to Phaneuf for owning up to his mistake during the post-game indicating that perhaps he has matured as a player. Every team needs to learn how to lose in the playoffs therefore, fans should be encouraged by Toronto's progress & patiently endure these growing pains. The Leafs aren't done yet & there's no reason to believe that this series ends of Friday night.
With a crucial Game 4 at the ACC tonight, Mike chats with Darren Dreger, James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel about the Leafs in desperate need of production from the likes of Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri.
Darren Dreger and James Mirtle join Mike Richards set up Game 4 between the Leafs and Bruins. WATCH!
The hockey analyst joins Mike Richards to discuss his Emmy win and the Isles' big Game 4 win. WATCH!
A British television reporter calls Mike Richards to discuss Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement. WATCH!
Leafs prepare for game four vs. the Bruins, Canucks get swept by the Sharks, & the Blue Jays overcome a scary incident in Tampa Bay. Hour 1 Audio
Pierre McGuire,Darren Dreger,James Mirtle preview game four between the Leafs/Bruins, plus "English soccer guy" discusses Alex Ferguson's resignation. Hour 2 Audio
Maple Leafs beat writer Jonas Siegel previews game four vs. the Bruins, & fans call in to share their thoughts on tonight's matchup. Hour 3 Audio
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has really struggled in games 2 & 4 of the New York Islanders series. The Islanders should be credited for their efforts however; it's now becoming painfully obvious that the Penguins "can't win with Fleury as their number one goalie." Perhaps it's time for Pittsburgh to seriously consider putting in backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun in order the change the complexion of the team. The series is currently squared at two games apiece, & Vokoun is a veteran presence that will not be overwhelmed by the pressure of the playoffs. The Montreal Canadiens are a bruised/battered bunch & will have a difficult time overcoming the loss of All-Star goaltender Carey Price. How knows just how banged up this Canadiens squad really is… Let's give credit to the Ottawa Senators, as the momentum appears to be drastically shifting in their favour. The Toronto Maple Leafs must be weary of the Boston Bruins tonight (who have yet to play their "A" game). It's pandemonium on the streets of Vancouver as the Canucks got swept in the first round by the San Jose Sharks. The Canucks didn't match the Sharks level of compete until it was too little too late. It's not unrealistic to expect wholesale changes in Vancouver with Gillis, Vigneault, & Luongo's future up in the air.
The Leafs Bruins "faceoff gate" has remained a hot button issue throughout the first three games of this series. Tyler Bozak's accusations regarding the Bruins potentially "cheating" on faceoffs is somewhat valid, as Maple Leafs management & officials struggle to get on the same page. The Leafs have spent the past two days focusing on moving the puck quickly/efficiently in order to expose the Bruins defense. Toronto is still plagued by key give aways at inopportune times (see Phil Kessel giving the puck to Dan Paille during game three) It's almost as if the Bruins are waiting for the Leafs to make mental mistakes & then capitalize on their opportunities. Toronto played pretty well in game three (aside from a few mistakes) therefore, the Leafs need to tighten up & feed off the success they have enjoyed thus far. Randy Carlyle & company have contemplated defensive lineup changes (John-Michael Liles) & will only be able to beat Boston by using speed to their advantage. Joffrey Lupul is a player that has been missing in action (aside from game two) & needs to have a strong performance tonight if Toronto wants to get back into this series. Game four could be very low scoring, although these playoffs have shown that anything can happen. After a four game sweep at the hands of the San Jose Sharks there could be some drastic offseason changes in store for the Vancouver Canucks. General manager Mike Gillis should be safe however, head coach Alain Vigneault has been at the helm for the past seven season so "it could be time for a fresh voice in the locker room"
If the Maple Leafs want to win game four vs. the Boston Bruins "their best players will have to be their best players" (see game two vs. Boston) Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, & James van Riemsdyk have been the Leafs most consistent players throughout this series but it's now time for some secondary scoring to step up (paging Nazem Kadri) Randy Carlyle has spent the past two days preaching the importance of puck management & limiting the number of turnovers at critical junctures of the game. There has also been an increased emphasis on creating more traffic in front of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask who has been very solid in this series. Toronto will have to try and wear down the Bruins defense (most notably Zdeno Chara) in order to increase their scoring chances. It's also possible that we see the return of John-Michael Liles (experienced, puck moving defenseman) that adds a different dimension to the Maple Leafs offense.
Following the Leafs disappointing effort in Game 3, Mike chats about potential lineup changes with Jonas Siegel, Darren Dreger and Steve Simmons, who mentions it may be time to reinsert Mike Komisarek.
Darren Dreger and Steve Simmons join Mike for Leafs Breakfast to discuss the Leafs' loss to the Bruins. WATCH!
Hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joins Mike to discuss the Rangers' Game 3 win over the Capitals. WATCH!
Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins discusses losing Jake Gardiner to the Leafs and Marlies playoffs. WATCH!
Tim Tebow calls Mike Richards to discuss the Maple Leafs' loss and his NHL aspirations. WATCH!
Jonas Siegel recaps the Maple Leafs game three loss vs. the Boston Bruins, & the Blue Jays rally for huge comeback vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. Hour 1 Audio
Pierre McGuire, Darren Dreger, Steve Simmons discuss the Leafs game three loss vs. the Bruins, & Tim Tebow calls in to talk NHL playoffs. Hour 2 Audio
Toronto Marlies coach Dallas Eakins talks AHL playoffs, Scott Ferguson & Scott MacArthur break down the Blue Jays improbable comeback last night. Hour 3 Audio
The Maple Leafs lost game three vs. the Boston Bruins last night primarily due to turnovers. Boston capitalized on Toronto's mistakes en route to the 5-2 win. It is possible that we see defenseman John-Michael Liles reinserted into the lineup however; head coach Randy Carlyle might be hesitant to create a tandem of Gardiner/Liles because of the lack of size. This is where the Leafs are starting to feel the absence of a bigger defenseman such as Mike Kostka. Second year defenseman Jake Gardiner has shown flashes of brilliance followed by flashes of defensive breakdowns. While Gardiner's play has been inconsistent at times, Carlyle has clearly indicated that "the positives definitely outweigh the negatives." The bottom line is that whatever playoff experience Gardiner can gain will be an asset to the club in the long haul. Another troubling stat for the Leafs last night was that they lost 24/34 offensive zone face-offs, with centreman Kadri/Bozak getting kicked out of the circle because the officials felt that both players were cheating. One again the Leafs will have to rebound & make several adjustments in advance of game four; otherwise run the risk of falling behind 3-1 in the series.
Game three between the Washington Capitals & New York Rangers last night, was rather bizarre because it almost was like two separate games combined into one. The Rangers & Capitals took turns dominating various portions of the game, with Rangers center Derek Stepan scoring the game winner midway through the third period. The Rangers deserve a lot of credit for emerging victorious in a "must-win game" & now find themselves trailing the series 2-1. The Maple Leafs seemed to get dominated by the Boston Bruins larger/mobile defenseman (Chara, Boychuk, Seidenberg) This was a major concern for the Leafs heading into this series & it is now up to Carlyle & company to make the necessary adjustments in advance of game four Wednesday night. One word that best describes the St. Louis Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings series would be "vicious" How are these teams going to have anything left for the next round? This is a "home-ice" series which means that the team that fails to hold serve will probably be golfing by the end of the week. The playoffs are starting to heat up with several series squared at two apiece….
It has become painfully obvious that second year defenseman Jake Gardiner does have some defensive flaws in his game. What Gardiner provides is an element of skating & the unique ability to move the puck quickly up the ice. Gardiner is not where he needs to be, but he is working on getting there. The weird part of this series is that each game has looked completely different from the previous one, leaving us guessing which team will show up on Wednesday night. Toronto might be able to take solace in the fact that 3/4 goals scored against them were the byproduct of their own mistakes. Therefore these areas should be fixable prior to game four. Another area of concern is that the Boston Bruins depth players have increased their level of compete, which hasn't been the case with the Maple Leafs role players. Perhaps head coach Randy Carlyle should contemplate reinserting much maligned defenseman Mike Komisarek back into the lineup?
It's been a fun playoff ride for the Toronto Marlies as they prepare for their upcoming playoff series vs. the Grand Rapids Griffins Friday night. Whenever a player gets called up, it presents an opportunity for another player to step up & increase their role within the team. Defenseman Jake Gardiner has handled the pressure of the NHL playoffs very well up to this point. Gardiner remains even keeled despite enduring a difficult season (concussion, calls ups, etc…) & may have been guilty of initially rushing himself back into the lineup. We have all seen flashes of brilliance from Mr. Gardiner but it is important to remember that this is only a second year player with loads of potential. Let's all take a deep breath and let him grow.
The Jays had a remarkable comeback last night in the top of the ninth inning vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. The concern for this team is that pitching remains a major issue for the team moving forward (Dickey, Buehrle, Johnson, Romero). Buehrle hasn't lived up to the lofty pre-season expectations & is scheduled to earn $18 million next year (highest on the team). At this point in the season the Jays are still trying to establish some sort of chemistry & simply earn as many wins as possible in order to avoid falling further behind in the division.
With playoff hockey returning to Toronto for the first time in nine years, Mike chats with Jonas Siegel, Pierre McGuire, Darren Dreger and Claude Loiselle about the excitement in the city and whether the Leafs can keep the momentum they gained in Game 2.
Darren Dreger and Jim Ralph join Mike for Leafs Breakfast to discuss the Leafs' win over the Bruins. WATCH!
Pierre McGuire joins Mike to talk about the Isles/Pens series and the pushback by lower seed teams. WATCH!
Leafs assistant GM Claude Loiselle discusses the atmosphere around the Leafs playoff game in Toronto. WATCH!
Linda Blair joins Mike Richards in studio to make her Maple Leafs playoff predictions. WATCH!
Jonas Siegel previews tonight's Leafs vs. Bruins matchup, Foster Hewitt calls in, & the Blue Jays beat the Mariners. Hour 1 Audio
Pierre McGuire, Darren Dreger, & Jim Ralph break down tonight's Leafs vs. Bruins game, & Linda Blair offers her predictions for game three! Hour 2 Audio
Boston Bruins radio voice Dave Goucher previews game three, & Maple Leafs Assistant GM Claude Loiselle discusses the keys to success for tonight. Hour 3 Audio
Much maligned Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski appears to have been reborn since the start of the playoffs. Head coach Randy Carlyle feels that Grabovski has finally played up to his capabilities (determined, aggressive, physical) & now the Leafs are reaping the benefits. James van Riemsdyk's highlight reel goal on Saturday night was a thing of beauty. Toronto showed a lot of composure Saturday night (few turnovers, playing with a physical edge, & good use of speed) making this the most complete Leafs game over the past two months. Perhaps the best part of the victory was the fact that Toronto's offense was evenly distributed amongst three lines en route to the 4-1 victory. James Reimer, Jake Gardiner, Matt Frattin are brimming with confidence heading into game three, which should make for an interesting matchup tonight.
The New York Islanders showed a lot of resolve battling back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period before ultimately falling short in overtime vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon. Sidney Crosby was magnificent in his return because he simply "makes the players around him better." Crosby has an incredibly unique skill set/passing ability which is what makes him the best player in the NHL. Ottawa Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau is quickly making a name for himself with a marvellous hat trick last night vs. the Montreal Canadiens. Both coaches/teams (Therrien & MacLean) are extremely passionate & really don't like each other, proving that this series could be the start of a budding rivalry. The Toronto Maple Leafs won on Saturday night because as the old cliché goes "their best players were their best players." The morale of the story is that good defense leads to good offense, because the teams with the best transition game usually have the most success. We should expect a wild game three tonight vs. the Washington Capitals & New York Rangers. Capitals head coach Adam Oates has done a remarkable job behind the bench & is widely considered one of the top up & coming coaches in the NHL.
The Maple Leafs second period on Saturday night might have been the best period of the year. The Leafs 4-2 victory was far more than a "bounce back game" because they have now planted a seed of doubt in the minds of the Boston Bruins. It's now up to Boston to answer the bell tonight as the series shifts to Toronto. Some of the Leafs keys to success on Saturday night included better puck management/transition game, great use of their speed, & a spectacular performance in net by goaltender James Reimer. Jake Gardiner proved to be a welcome addition to the Leafs blue line but still has to refine a few areas of his game. Mikhail Grabovski has been much better during the playoffs & has been one of the best forwards on the ice throughout the first two games of the series. The challenge for Toronto is to see if they can match Boston's pushback effort during game three later on tonight.
The Maple Leafs rose to the challenge after a sub par effort in game one therefore, the Bruins must return serve & do the same tonight in Toronto. The Bruins faithful don't seem to be as obsessed with the Phil Kessel trade as the Toronto media (namely because they got Seguin/Hamilton/Knight & won the cup in 2011) Tuukka Rask had a great regular season & his calm/relaxed demeanor has been a stark contrast from the previously high strung Tim Thomas. A long Bruins playoff run would be a healthy diversion from the Boston Marathon Tragedy that shook the nation earlier last month.
The playoffs are in full force & the city of Toronto is alive & well! Toronto is a very passionate hockey town & Maple Leafs management has been very pleased with the development of some of their younger players such (Kadri, Gardiner, Frattin, Hamilton) James Reimer is playing very well at the most critical juncture of the season & the team has full confidence in his abilities. Momentum can shift at any moment during these playoffs so the Leafs must refocus & get ready for the task at hand later on tonight. The hiring of Randy Carlyle has dramatically increased the compete level/defensive awareness within the team which has proved to be invaluable for a younger squad like Toronto.
Mike Richards in the Morning: Apr. 29-May 3.
Mike Richards in the Morning: Apr. 22-26.
Mike Richards in the Morning: Apr. 15-19.
Mike Richards in the Morning: Apr. 8-12.
Mike Richards in the Morning: Apr. 1-5.
Mike Richards in the Morning: Mar. 25-29.
Mike Richards in the Morning: Mar. 18-22.
Mike Richards in the Morning: Mar. 11-15.
Mike Richards in the Morning: Mar. 4-8.
Mike Richards in the Morning: Feb. 25-Mar. 1.
Mike Richards in the Morning: Feb. 18-22.
Dreger: Habs start fast, Blues in toruble?
Simmons: Nets/Raptors a clash in styles
Strickland: Can inexperienced Raps handle Nets?
Maurice: Jets ready to contend for playoffs
Mitchell: Can Raps overcome inexperience?
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