In Toronto, they love to eat their own, especially when it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
When the Leafs picked up Jonathan Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings over the summer in a trade, it created an instant goaltending controversy, pitting Bernier against incumbent James Reimer.
When sniper Phil Kessel only scores two goals during the first nine games there were already murmurings among the city’s hockey denizens that he was not living up to the fat eight-year, $64-million contract he had just signed.
Bernier was in net for his second consecutive start, there is still a smile on the face of Reimer, and Kessel broke loose for three goals as the Leafs trumped the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 at the Air Canada Centre.
All is well now in Leafs nation – until their next two-game losing skid.
Ryan Dixon writes on Sportsnet.ca that much of the credit for the success of Kessel on Tuesday night could be traced to the play of linemate James van Riemsdyk.
The game had special meaning for Leafs coach Randy Carlyle writes Lance Pugmire in the Los Angeles Times as it was Carlyle who was behind the bench when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007.
In Montreal, it is not good to be Lars Eller these days.
The centre for the Canadiens ruffled more than a few feathers when he compared the Edmonton Oilers to a junior team a few hours before Montreal and Edmonton squared off at Bell Centre.
And you just know that was in the back of the minds of the Oilers writes Dave Stubbs in the Montreal Gazette as Edmonton spotted the Canadiens a two-goal lead before storming back for a 4-3 victory.
Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins was clearly incensed by the pre-game remarks by Eller.
“It’s games like that that you don’t even really need to go play,” Eakins said. “When you have a player like Lars Eller running his mouth before the game, it makes for great banter in our dressing room and great motivation. We thank Lars Eller for his comments before the game.”
“He might as well have sent me a fruit basket and a bottle of win,” Eakins is quoted as saying by Robert Tychkowski, writing in the Edmonton Sun.
Bobby Orr has been gone from the game for some time, but he can still draw a crowd – even in New York City.
The former Bruin great is busy hawking his new book and the line of people wanting to greet Orr at a book signing event in Manhattan stretched outside onto 47th Street writes Dan Rosen on NHL.com
In Winnipeg, where the Jets continue to struggle, it is time for the city’s hockey fans to take a deep breath writes Gary Lawless in the Free Press. But emotions are running high, not helped by the Washington Capital 5-4 shootout victory over the Jets at MTS Centre as Winnipeg concluded a six-game homestand with a 2-3-1 mark.