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From the Branches: Long day before a long weekend

From my ice covered cubilce (how did it get in here anyway?) comes your morning links.

It's the 24th, so here's #24 Jonas Frogren. I'm disappointed there were no pictures of Randy Wood available.
It's the 24th, so here's #24 Jonas Frogren. I'm disappointed there were no pictures of Randy Wood available.
Al Bello/Getty Images

Good morning Leafs fans, and I don't know about you, but I have a 4 day weekend ahead of me. I have no strong feelings about holidays in anyway but I'll take the time off, thank you Peter Rabbit.

Where Does Nazem Kadri Fit In The Toronto Maple Leafs' Future? — NHL — The Sports Quotient
Despite the Toronto Maple Leafs lack of success, Nazem Kadri has stepped up in a big way and is a restricted free agent at the end of the NHL season.

Projecting the Toronto Maple Leafs 2016-17 Lineup - Shanaplan Debate
There are a ton of players with expiring contracts at seasons end, and decisions will need to be made.

Early signs point to Connor Carrick being a good piece of Leafs' future | The LeafsNation
As much as we've enjoyed this late-season version of the Leafs with their new dose of youth, the fact remains that this is a team sitting thirtieth in a league of thirty. Whether this iteration of the roster would operate at that level if given the whole year is probably debatable, but as Mike Babcock has even alluded to recently, you have to be careful about buying too much into this kind of short-term success we've seen in the last week or so.

Toronto Maple Leafs Proving Tough to Play Against
The Brian Burke era was defined by size and truculence.  The Nonis era was defined by speed and offensive power.  Lou Lamoriello, Mike Babcock and Brendon Shanahan are still in the process of leaving their mark on the Maple Leafs organization, but the product of their efforts has come to light in recent weeks: Skill, responsible play and grit.

Colin Greening Impressing with Maple Leafs – Babcock Bling
When the Sens traded Colin Greening to Toronto in early February, it was meant to be a salary dump. A $2.65 million dead weight to toil in the minors until his contract expired. 20 NHL games later, Colin has been anything but dead weight for the red hot Maple Leafs.

Washington Capitals to salute Mike Marson, the NHL’s 2nd black player | TheColorOfHockey

Marson and his Capitals teammates endured the indignity of an 8-67-5 record in the team’s inaugural 1974-75 season, one of the worst records in NHL history.

But Marson also endured the indignities of racism  – on and off the ice.

Zeitgeist: Islanders Slump of the Year Award™ voting now open! - Lighthouse Hockey
Cast your vote now for the Islander shooting the blankest blanks!

Down Goes Brown: When playoff streaks end
There’s an argument to be made that the Wings’ streak is the most impressive in NHL history, given the size of the league and the relentless push toward parity. But it’s not the only such streak the league has seen, or even the longest. Five other NHL teams have had playoff streaks longer than 20 consecutive seasons.

Is the First Seed the Best Seed for the Dallas Stars in the Playoffs? - Defending Big D
Everyone wants to be first seed, but does that actually come with any advantages?

Today is also a long day for another reason: OHL playoffs start tonight and the day will just drag on, and on, and on, as I wait.

Leafs have 5 prospects playing and all have a good chance at making the second round.

Enjoy your Thursday.