TORONTO - With no guarantees the Leafs will carry their late-season success into 2011-12 (other non-playoff teams aren’t going to be idle in re-tooling this summer) there is the possibility that Ron Wilson could preside over a fourth straight season out of the playoffs.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the longest recent dry spell for a coach was the five years Wayne Gretzky’s Phoenix Coyotes were out from 2005-06 through 08-09. Before Gretzky, there was Barry Trotz with the expansion Nashville Predators. That was a five-season drought, but patience paid off and Trotz is embarking in post-season action for the sixth time in seven years.
Carey Price was asked Friday if he would ever realize his dream of scoring into an empty net. Apparently, he’s been working on technique in case the chance arises.
“They don’t give me the puck, which isn’t very nice,” Price said in jest about his teammates. “(Scott) Gomez gives me the puck sometimes. But not when the net is empty.”
Price was also in a light-hearted mood when asked about chatty P.K. Subban shooting for Guy Lapointe’s rookie record of 15 goals by a defenceman in one season. Subban was one shy entering the game against the Leafs.
“It would be cool if he gets it, but then we’d have to listen to him all the time,” Price said.
Mike Cammalleri on the Habs’ outlook entering the playoffs — and possibly duplicating last year’s success:
“We’ve shown some positives. To win in the playoffs you have to be exceptional. I don’t think we’ve been exceptional, but as of late we’ve found a way to win games and done positive things we can feed off.
“There is no doubt we have a goaltender who can steal games. He’s probably been as good as anyone in the NHL this year and that gives us huge confidence.”
From 74 points in ‘09-10, this was the biggest one-season jump in Leaf points since an improvement of 18 between 1997-98 and ‘98-99 and the third highest jump in 20 years ... Wilson was hoping to tie Bryan Murray for sixth in NHL coaching wins before Saturday, trailing the GM of the Ottawa Senators 620-619 ... The Canadiens must have thought James Reimer was super-pumped to play them this weekend. On Friday afternoon, while using the Leafs’ MasterCard Centre facility, a couple of Canadiens were startled to pass Reimer in full equipment, skates and game sweater walking the halls. Reimer was returning from a promotional photo shoot ... A list of most goaltending wins by a rookie Leaf: Al Rollins, 27 (1950-51), Felix Potvin 25 (‘92-93), Frank McCool 24 (‘44-45), Mike Palmateer 23 (‘76-77), Turk Broda 22 (‘36-37), Ed Chadwick 21 (‘56-57), Reimer 20 (before Saturday’s game) and Jiri Crha 20 (‘80-81).