You might think with the way his Toronto Maple Leafs went down last spring, coughing up a three-goal third period lead in Game 7 of the first
round of playoffs, GM Dave Nonis would have spent the entire off-season
reliving the nightmare.
You'd be dead wrong.
"A lot has
been made and said about the end of the season and obviously it's not
something we enjoyed going through, it's something you will never happen
again, but I can be honest with you, I haven't spent a lot of time
thinking about the last few minutes of the Boston game," Nonis said. "I
spent a lot more time thinking about the fact we proved to ourselves
that we can compete with that team. That's what we have taken out of it.
We're not forgetting what happened, but I haven't spent literally five
minutes thinking about it. It's dwelling on a negative and I don't think
we should do that. We're not where we need to be, but we're a lot
closer than we were 24 months ago."
Nonis, in his second year as
the Maple Leafs GM, met with the media Wednesday morning as the players
gathered at MasterCard Centre for their season-opening physicals and
spoke on a variety of subjects.On getting Nazem Kadri signed to a two-year contract the night before training camp opened:
understood where we were where we were. We felt it was an important
position to take. We felt it was a fair offer all along. There was some
movement made to try to get the deal done."Did you think about what beating the Bruins would have meant:
"A little bit. Once you get into the post-season, anything can happen.
There are better teams than others in the post-season. It doesn't mean
those teams are going to win. Once you get there, you have a chance."On defenceman Cody Franson not being at camp because he has no contract:
"At this point there's nothing to report. We've made him an offer that
we want him to take. He's declined to take it. At this point, we're
going to move ahead with the players we have here in camp. There are
realities about where you are. We have 'X' amount of cap space. We have
players who are going to try to make this team that may eat up some of
that. There's only so much we have to get a deal done. I understand his
position, he doesn't think this is fair. We want him signed. We want to
have Cody at camp. But he's not here. We have to move forward."On adding two-time Stanley Cup champ David Bolland and 2012 Stanley Cup finalist David Clarkson:
"When you add players who have won, who have gone through the adversity
to win a championship, they can pass on a lot to the players around
them. You look at how Chicago won their Cups. It wasn't like they blew
everybody out of the water. There was adversity along the way. David was
big part of that. We can't ask him or anybody else we brought in to do
anything out of the ordinary, do something they haven't done in the
past. We want them to be themselves, be the player they were on their
previous teams. Those players are pretty good players that helped them
win championships or get to the finals."
On adding goaltender Jonathan Bernier from Los Angeles:
"Last year, when that team was struggling and looked like they could
fall out of the playoffs, as well as Quick played, if you were to call
Dean Lombardi right now and ask who saved our season, he'd say it was
Jonathan Bernier. He played some pretty important games. He played some
games that got the back on a roll and got them into the playoffs. In our
mind, he is a quality prospect."
Tyler Bozak made it to unrestricted free agency this summer, but did
not want to leave the Maple Leafs. The free agent experience wasn't
quite what he expected.
"It's stressful," Bozak declared.
"Obviously I wanted to stay here; I was hoping they wanted the same.
It's obviously a nice time when you're an unrestricted free agent as a
player, but it was a little bit more stressful than I thought it would
be and I was really excited when I was able to get the deal done."
is often ripped for not being a true No. 1 centre, even though he
skates on a line with Phil Kessel and James van Reimsdyk, but his
numbers the past two years have been pretty good - 30 goals and 75
points in 119 games - for a guy who plays a dependable two-way game and
is solid in the faceoff circle.
One person who was pleased about Bozak re-signing with the Maple Leafs is his pal Kessel.
played together for a couple of years and we know where each other is
on the ice," Kessel said. "We have good chemistry out there and we're
good friends off the ice, so that helps."Rule change
The news that the NHL is going to test hybrid icing during the pre-season didn't quite make it to Phil Kessel.
changed the icing?" Kessel said when he was asked about it. "I didn't
even know. I had no clue until you just told me that. I think it's good.
It's a dangerous part of the game when guys are going back racing for
the puck. Hopefully it takes that out of the equation."
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