Hall of Fame Leafs goalie Johnny Bower and club general manager Brian Burke were guests for a luncheon at the Canadian Embassy in Washington on Wednesday. The two took part in a question-and-answer session with staffers. It was the second time Burke was invited to speak.
He was quizzed about topics such as adding more Canadian teams to the NHL, while Bower was asked what it was like to work for Harold Ballard in the 1970s. The war veteran Bower, who turns 86 this week, was proudly wearing his poppy and was taken on a visit to the World War II Memorial on the National Mall.
Bower said his Prince Albert, Sask.,-based unit had several fine hockey players on it, though some were killed as part of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division in the raid on Dieppe in 1942.
BROWN ON THE BOARD
At least someone is listening to coach Ron Wilson’s sermons above going hard to the net.
Winger Mike Brown got in Washington goalie Michal Neuvirth’s grille while Tomas Kaberle’s shot brushed enough of Brown’s pants to change direction.
“We’ve stressed getting in front of the goalie and that’s all I was looking to do on the screen,” said Brown, whose first goal as a Leaf was not recognized until a post-game review.
Some of the Buffalo Sabres know how Dion Phaneuf and the Leafs are feeling when things go sour at home. During a 5-2 loss to Boston on Wednesday, fan discontent fell upon $4.5 million US forward Tim Connolly after a couple of giveaways.
“You’ve got to kind of just play. Stuff like that happens,” Connolly said of the booing. Buffalo is here on Saturday.
Centre Mikhail Grabovski has gone 20 games without a goal, dating back to March 25 of last season against Atlanta. In the past three games he did score, the Leafs won ... One of Wilson’s experiments against the Caps saw Kris Versteeg back at centre. Though he prefers left wing, it could be an option that Wilson explores further if Grabovski and Tyler Bozak continue to struggle offensively ... In addition to scoring on Wednesday after a 10-game slide, Bozak won 14 of 23 faceoffs ... Winger Fredrik Sjostrom on the loss of Phaneuf: “He’s such an important player. But what are you going to do? Fold and cry about it? You have to keep battling and guys have to step up.” ... Goalie Ben Scrivens has been called up by the Toronto Marlies from Reading of the ECHL after James Reimer was hurt on Wednesday in the Marlies’ 6-1 win in San Antonio.