Good morning Toronto Maple Leafs fans!
The sun is shining, birds are chilling in their nests and the Maple Leafs made a huge comeback (then a small one) to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning last night.
No one was injured aside from Samsonov's pride, so I call that a double win.
It's also a big day in Maple Leafs history as well. It's the 35th anniversary of the Russ Courtnall for John Kordic trade.
On November 7th, 1988 General Manager Gord Stellick looked at the roster and decided that no, we have too much scoring talent. We are in the Norris Division. We'll just get more toughness.
So, Russ Courtnall, who was coming off 60, 73, and 49 point seasons, would be traded to the hated Montreal Canadians, who were in the other conference to be fair, for John Kordic.
Courtnall was an NHL regular racking up points and solidly putting up 20-25 goals a season. John Kordic was getting sent down to the AHL at least once a season, would give you about 8 points a season. However this was 1988, in the Norris Division where you were guaranteed a fight a period, and Kordic had 159 penalty minutes the previous season. This was considered a plus back then.
Many people consider this one of the worst trades the Maple Leafs ever made.
However, one Maple Leafs blogger defended the deal.
Russ Courtnall wasn't that good. Yes, I said it. Courtnall was a decent player with great speed, who showed occasional flashes but was generally inconsistent and soft. And that's about it.
... So why does everyone think he was superstar? Largely because the Toronto media feels a need to ridiculously over-rate any young player who the Leafs trade away.
I get both sides of this argument, but you probably could have gotten a better player for Courtnall.
Courtnall would go on to play for the Canadians, North Stars, Dallas Stars, Canucks, Rangers, and Kings. A popular trade piece around the league, he would sadly be moved off Montreal before the 1993 trade deadline. Missing out on their Stanley Cup.
Kordic would end up being traded to the Washington Capitals in 1991 for a 5th round pick, and sadly pass away in the 1992 off-season after struggling with substance abuse his whole career
Turning a second/third line forward into a goon, then a fifth round pick. That pick became Alexei Kudashov who played 25 games for the Leafs, then went back to Russia. He's currently head coach of Dynamo Moscow in the KHL.
So, happy trade-iversary everyone!
Here's some other things to talk about.
Need some early USHL prospects to dream of?
Despite the win there are still worries.
Larry Tannembaum sold 5% of MLSE to OMERS, the Ontario municipal employees pension plan(!), for $400 Million. That makes MLSE worth... A lot
Edmonton Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft got a game misconduct after, in his words, "asking a fair question" at the referees.
Former Leafs starter Freddie Andersen is out indefinitely with blood clot issues.
Finally, remember when the potential PWHL names were leaked and we all said they were awful? At least Ottawa's name has a link to the past
Enjoy your day everyone!