Archive for the ‘Toronto Maple Leafs’ Category

Northeast Division Roundup

November 11, 2009

Greetings, hockey fans. This is Meaghan from the illustrious (humour me) Ottawa Senators blog known as Sens at Land’s End with the first of what should be many whirlwind tours of blogs covering the NHL’s Northeast Division.

Without further ado:

Let’s begin with one of the teams furthest from my heart, the Montreal Canadiens. Topham over at Habs blog Lions in Winter has thoughtfully taken on the now infamous Allan Walsh-Jaroslav Halak vs. Carey Price Twitter incident in a post puntastically titled “The Price of Being a Twit.”

Over in the Barilkosphere, Down Goes Brown claims to have revealed the NHL’s top secret flow chart for handing out suspensions. I’m not sure I believe the document posted is authentic, but it seems quite accurate. (This isn’t strictly speaking a story about the Leafs, but I imagine a team that truculent will at some point encounter Colin Campbell and his magical wheel of justice.)

With the Sens being the best the most interesting my favourite team in the league, I was able to find a huge amount of fascinating, high quality material about them. It was hard for me to narrow it down to just one story to post here, but in the end I thought The 6th Sens’ piece about the potential ripple effects of the Steve Yzerman to Ottawa trade that never happened was the most timely, with Yzerman’s well-deserved induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame having taken place on Monday.

Most Bruins blogs appear to be focused on happy things this week. David Krejci has recovered from the dreaded swine flu, and everyone is generally feeling joyful because the Bruins have won their last two games and may finally be getting on track. However, According to Cameron Frye uncovers the darker side of Boston, making the disturbing discovery that Patrice Bergeron may have been replaced by his evil twin.

Finally, the entire Buffalo Sabres blogosphere is evidently too shocked over the fact that Adam Mair was placed on waivers this week to write about much else.

And that’s what’s what in the Northeast this week. If you have any suggestions for posts I might link to in next week’s roundup, shoot me an email at sensatlandsend [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know. I’m sure there are tons of worthy blogs I’m not aware of, and I’d appreciate any tips pointing me in the direction of great material.

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A message from the desk of Eyebleaf, virtual Burke replacement (Pick 22)

July 27, 2009
First of all, the Toronto Maple Leafs would like to take a moment to thank Cycle Like The Sedins for their more than generous hospitality. It’s a pleasure to take part in this most interesting endeavor.

We’d also like to make it a point NOT to congratulate the Pittsburgh Penguins. Fuck those guys; we were cheering for the Detroit Red Wings.

Without further adieu, with the 22nd pick in the Cycle Like The Sedins fantasy draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs are proud to select centre MARC SAVARD.

12. Marc Savard to the Toronto Maple Leafs by EyebLeaf

Cap Hit: $5,000,000

Moves Burke should avoid on Wednesday, according to Pension Plan Puppets

June 30, 2009

Please note: Just wanted to inform anyone who hasn’t heard yet that the Rangers somehow hypnotized Bob Gainey into taking Scott Gomez’s horrific contract off the books.

Pension Plan Puppets is truly one of the great Toronto Maple Leafs blogs. Check out their work as they sport more blogging talent (by far) than the Leafs provide hockey talent. Also, they did a podcast with our buddies at Hockee Night that you should check out as well.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

There has only really been one player on the Leafs that made me physically ill to have to watch play, Bryan Marchment, and this summer the Leafs have been linked with TWO of them: Chris Neil and Mike Komisarek.

The former is best known in league circles for being really tough as long as linesmen are within arm’s reach. Before some whiny senators fan mentions his fight against Luke Schenn we’ll see how things go when it’s not the rookie’s first fight and the stupid stretchy jersey sleeve didn’t catch on his arm. Not that Neil will chance it.

Komisarek is overrated as a defensive defenceman, he almost matches Neil for cowardice, and hits late every.single.time. Plus he still has the stink of the Habs on him and any aura that he might have had has been completely dashed by repeated decimations at the hands of Milan Lucic. The cheap crosscheck that should have resulted in at least a 10 game suspension just showed how yellow he is.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

I don’t really hate too many teams that much since the Leafs haven’t been to the playoffs in a while. Anything the Habs and senators do will likely just elicit a laugh as one has no cap space to address their needs and the other can’t even attract players with truck loads of cash.

Having said that, if the Canucks sign the Sedins (which should put Gillis on the road to getting canned if he doesn’t) AND a defenceman that can make a pass further than five feet then I’ll be pissed. Luongo struggled but he’ll bounce back and if they have a defenceman that doesn’t clam up when they see a forechecker that might alleviate a lot of pressure on the backend.

Pension Plan Puppets educates CLS about the Maple Leafs’ upcoming draft

June 20, 2009
Burke: “Dammit, Nonis, Horton’s is that way …”

Toronto Maple Leafs fans have dealt with many indignities. How would you feel if you had to linger on a Green Bay Packers-level waiting list just to watch a team who hasn’t won a Cup in ages while teams in Tampa Bay and Carolina skated with the silver chalice?

Despite the heartbreak, there are some great Toronto blogs and one of the biggest is Pension Plan Puppets. It’d be enough if PPP was funny (they are) but it’s much more. The blog’s also informative (hell – educational, even: the mere name of the blog is a lesson about Canadian politics). Don’t forget the alliterative title. Just a big barrel of greatness.

Many thanks to the triple-P gang for contributing. Make sure to follow them for your Leafs needs (and wants).

1. Brian Burke is, for our money, the greatest GM to ever happen to hockey blogging. Should we expect any brazen, whacky moves from Burkie during the draft? How strong are the chances that he might deal the pick … say, for the Sedins or Giguere?

Definitely. He’s never met a microphone he doesn’t like. I saw a self-professed prospects guy suggest that Burke might actually trade down in the draft. That is about as crazy as I could see it getting and it would have been pretty crazy. Actually, if I get a chance to talk to him and ask him about the “Brian Burke” twitter he might throttle me so I guess that might be pretty whacky.

2. If Burkie stays put with the pick, who would you expect him to draft? One Mock Draft I read has Burke taking some Swede with an impossible last name, but it’s hardly a secret that he’s developed quite the affection for knuckle dragging North American behemoths. Who would you prefer him to take?

Magnus Fancy Last Name is who we ended up drafting in SBN’s mock draft as well. If the Leafs stay put and Brayden Schenn and Jared Cowen are taken then I’d be thrilled with the pick. A couple of other mocks have had Schenn making it to the Leafs which would be amazing. I don’t see the Leafs trading up so I’ll be glad with any of those scenarios.

3. Looking back, describe some of your favorite Leafs drafting memories. What are some of the teams “biggest steals” and best moves?

Is there such a thing as a great Leafs’ drafting memory or best move? I actually cannot think of a single one. I guess I’d have to go with drafting Tomas Kaberle not that anyone knew how well it would turn out when it was made. Actually, the Leafs moving up two spots last year to draft Rookie All-Star Luke Schenn was pretty great.

4. On the contrary, which picks stand out as the biggest mistakes? Feel free to relate some of the Leafs’ biggest “what if” situations and jarring failures.

Where to start? There are the usual blunt objects with which Leaf fans are bludgeoned:

  • Trading away the Luongo pick (nevermind that the Leafs supposedly had a franchise goalie in Potvin at the time)
  • Trading away the shot at Lindros (thankfully that just turned into Scott Niedermayer)
  • Drafting three players from the Belleville Bulls in the first round in 1989. Needless to say they all stunk.

5. Feel free to explore the studio space. What kind of future do you see for the Leafs under Burkie? Do you fear that double B’s going to bring in Ed Jovanovski, Todd Bertuzzi and coax Markus Naslund out of retirement? Do tell.

We’re already used to Burke bringing in re-treads and it’s been a common theme throughout his management so we’re ready for his “Travis Moen is coming through that door, Francois Beauchemin is coming through that door, Sammy Pahlsson is coming through that door” speech. I envision the future that Burke has promised: a contending team with equal parts skill, truculence, pugnacity, and grit. Basically, a return to the Pat Quinn Era but with a Cup.

Living GM vs. Blogging GM: Northeast division

March 10, 2009

To wrap up our Trade Deadline coverage, we’ll take a look at the big moves (and non-moves) in each division one-by-one. Did our contributors and their respective GMs see eye-to-eye? Would those guest posts provide a better reality than what really came about? Let’s take a look at the Pacific division:

Real Life: Montreal Canadiens do nothing (except for, of course, the firing of Guy Carbonneau)

HF29 of Four Habs Fans said:

“If I were Bob Gainey, I’d stick my finger up my ass and not do anything. We are not in a position to win a cup with the addition of a rent-a-player, we are about to lose half our team to free agency this summer, and we can’t dump all our great prospects who will be replacing the UFA’s. So I’d go find a beach that has no Blackberry service.”

No reports available regarding digital penetration, but Gainey mentioned that he canceled his trip to Florida once he realized that his coach’s execution was imminent. So Four Habs Fans nailed this one pretty impressively.

Real Life: Ottawa Senators trade Antoine Vermette for Pascal Leclaire and a second round pick
Dany Heatley Speedwagon from Scarlett Ice said:

“If I were the Sens GM right now… I’d start filling out job applications.”

DHS might be more right than we can know. That being said, getting Leclaire might be worth the risk but the second round pick makes the move more salvageable. So much for the Sens becoming less of a big salary no depth team, though.

Real Life: Boston Bruins trade three prospects in two trades that brought in Steve Montador, Mark Recchi and a second round pick

Evan from Stanley Coup of Chowder rightly predicted that Manny Fernandez would not be moved and the Bruins would not trade for Erik Cole or Keith Tkachuk. He didn’t predict the mid-level moves, but let’s just say 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

Real Life: Buffalo Sabres shuffle second round picks, move Ales Kotalik and acquire Mikael Tellqvist to give Patrick Lalime a backup while Ryan Miller heals up.

Vance from Bangin’ Panger said:

“1. Trade Maxim Afinogenov for anything…anything at all. At this point, I would accept “Future Considerations.”

2. Trade Nate Gerbe, Drew Stafford, & a 1st for Olli Jokinen, Derek Morris, and a 3rd. Oh wait, that’s too serious.

3. Sign Tim Connolly. Then in turn, announce that the “Future Considerations” is in fact the purchase of a Chinese facility which genetically engineers single body parts for the recently signed Tim Connolly. Win – Win situation.”

This trade rumor mongering is too much for me, Let’s leave it to the experts…like Eklund.”

The Sabres could not find a bag of pucks for Afinogenov and didn’t make a big splash trade, but they did sign Connolly to a contract extension. One of our three … isn’t awful? This is why I’m not the next “Weird Al” Yankovic. Though I do love puns.

Real Life: Brian Burke makes very few changes with the Maple Leafs, except for that wacky trade that brought in Olaf Kolzig. The one “real” trade was Nik Antropovto the New York Rangers for a second rounder and a 2010 conditional pick.

While Loser Domi of Pension Plan Puppets spoke of boozing, while Bitter Leafs Fan said the Leafs should have a fire sale.

Just about everyone was fooled by crazy old Burkie’s “move” but few were surprised by the Antropov trade.

If you were the GM (Northeast division)

March 4, 2009

(With the trade deadline upon us, Cycle like the Sedins decided to ask about 30 or so friends in the blogosphere to represent his or her team and answer the question: “What would you do if you were the GM during the trade deadline?

Since things change in a heartbeat, the date of each person’s submission is listed next to each entry. So before you start screaming “BUT THEY TRADED HIM!” while food spills out of your mouth, we’re showing what they thought at the time.

Don’t like it? Psh.)

Montreal Canadiens

HF29 of Four Habs Fans

(submitted: March 2)

“If I were Bob Gainey, I’d stick my finger up my ass and not do anything. We are not in a position to win a cup with the addition of a rent-a-player, we are about to lose half our team to free agency this summer, and we can’t dump all our great prospects who will be replacing the UFA’s. So I’d go find a beach that has no Blackberry service.”

Chris Kontos: This is the easiest move for any NHL GM to make. Suspend the entire team for 2 games. They’ll come back and the team will go undefeated into the playoffs.

James O’Brien: It almost seems like the Habs are in a comfortably uncomfortable spot. They’re not the not new thing this year. But it still looks like they should make the playoffs. The obvious move is simply to stay put. They traded for Mathieu Schneider. That should be good again.

Let that whole scandal “blow” over. Ha ha. Ho Ho. *wipes tear*

***

Ottawa Senators
Dany Heatley Speedwagon from Scarlett Ice.
(March 1)

If I were the Sens GM right now… I’d start filling out job applications.

Chris Kontos: If laughing at the misfortunes of Bryan Murray is wrong… then I never want to be right.

James O’Brien: You know, Jay Bouwmeester for Jason Spezza might just be idiotic enough to not work for both parties. So maybe, give that 10-1 odds? (I mean, if you trade a first-rounder for Chris Campoli and Mr. Hillary Duff, why start making sense?)

***

Boston Bruins
Evan from Stanley Cup of Chowder
(2/24)

Manny Fernandez:

Chiarelli has indicated that Manny won’t be moved, which I think is the right move. I’m a lot more comfortable with the Bruins having two veteran goaltenders heading into the playoffs. We have seen so many goalies get injured around the league this year, so depth at the goaltending position is always a plus. Some B’s fans have lobbied for Fernandez to get traded and promote Tuukka Rask to be the backup, but I don’t see how having Rask rot on the bench while the Bruins take on his $3.2 million cap number for a few months helps him or the organization.

Cole or Tkachuk?

Neither. I think both of those guys will cost the Bruins too much, both in terms of player assets and the cap hit. The B’s want to keep as much of the current big league roster in place and I’m not sure they could do that and still bring in either of these guys. I’m not sure Cole is the answer for the Bruins. He was struggled out in Edmonton this season and appears to be in the decline stage of his career at only the age of 30. As for Tkachuk, a return to his hometown would make a great story and all but I’m not sure it is the best move for the Bruins. I would rather see them make one or two smaller deals. Ideally one for a big winger with a left-hand shot and one for a puck-moving defenseman. The more I look into Nik Antropov, the more I like him as an option. I think he has a lot of what the Bruins are looking to add at the deadline. Someone like Jordan Leopold would also be a nice addition to the Bruins blue line.

Chris Kontos:Tkachuk to the Bruins would be a major get. But I don’t think the Blues are giving up Uncle Walt. The Bruins are a fantastic team, I would keep both goalies and look forward to battling Washington in the semi-finals.

James O’Brien: If the Bruins can make a Chris Pronger deal work, then do it. This is a fantastic opportunity for the Bruins to make a Stanley Cup run and let’s face it: there’s going to be a bit of a drop off since it would be hard to keep David Krejci, Phil Kessel, Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez under the cap next year.

Somehow, if the B’s were the team with the two biggest meanest D in the league … they would probably be OK. Do it!

***

Buffalo Sabres

Vance from Bangin’ Panger
(Mar. 2)

1. Trade Maxim Afinogenov for anything…anything at all. At this point, I would accept “Future Considerations.”

2. Trade Nate Gerbe, Drew Stafford, & a 1st for Olli Jokinen, Derek Morris, and a 3rd. Oh wait, that’s too serious.

3. Sign Tim Connolly. Then in turn, announce that the “Future Considerations” is in fact the purchase of a Chinese facility which genetically engineers single body parts for the recently signed Tim Connolly. Win – Win situation.

This trade rumor mongering is too much for me, Let’s leave it to the experts…like Eklund

Chris Kontos: Sign Tim Connolly and then put him in a plastic bubble to be worn at all times, especially on the ice. This is the same Buffalo team we’ve seen for the last few years except for one. They are going to do anything to change it.

James O’Brien: Something needs to happen to the city of Buffalo, already. They had such a great run but of course … it’s Buffalo. Heart break was inevitable. Here’s a dream scenario that would restore some harmony to the universe:

Flyers put Danny Briere on waivers. Briere comes back up and is claimed by the Sabres. The Sabres get one half of their likable-before-their-idiotic-contracts duo at what Briere should make in a season. (Half of what he’s making now, you see.) Make it happen, universe.

***

Toronto Maple Leafs

Loser Domi from Pension Plan Puppets
(2/27)

If I were the Toronto GM, stock in vodka would go through the roof. You may also find me passed out in the sewer (like a boss).

From Bitter Leaf Fan
(3/03)

Under the current CBA, it strikes me that teams have a limited window to compete before increasing player compensation makes it a challenge for teams to hold on to the requisite pieces to remain among the elite (Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Tampa have all had to shed key parts in order to retain their top tier players).

If I was Brian Burke, pretty much the entire Leafs roster would be for sale. In return I’d put an emphasis on getting back prospects over picks. Prospects are a bit more of a known quantity, are further along in their development and therefore closer to stepping up to the NHL.

The Leafs have a very small nucleus (of sadly moderate talent) to build around: Schenn (’89), Tlusty (’88), Stralman (’86), Pogge (’86) and Mitchell (’85), Grabovski (’84). It’s this sad sack lot that the Leafs need to build around by acquiring more players born between 1986 to ’89. Players who are still three or four years removed from RFA status and five or six or so from UFA status.

By building around cost-controlled, younger players the Leafs can hopefully dip into the UFA pool in a few years when they’re competitive again (fingers crossed) for a star or two to help push them over the top.

Chris Kontos: Guaranteed, Brian Burke turns this franchise around in a season and half. I saw it with my own eyes across town. I hate you Brian Burke. He will pounce on any other GM who is willing to overpay in the slightest… and then get him to overpay even more. This is a man who found a way to get rid of Fedorov and that horrible contract.

James O’Brien: Getting out of that Fedorov contract was quite masterful, indeed. If Tomas Kaberle, Nik Antropov and any plus-$3 million isn’t in danger of being moved, then check Burke’s pulse.

Although I will say: Kaberle’s contract is a steal. (Also: there is not a single Burke photo that fails to make me laugh. That’s pretty impressive)

Baby Steps

October 10, 2008


Ahhh how refreshing! It’s nice to actually have some games to talk about.

The Red Wings raised their championship banner last night and it’s not a huge surprise that they were a bit lethargic in this one. But it IS a surprise that the Red Wings lost (and deserved to lose) to hockey’s ultimate punching bag, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s natural for fans to overreact to the first game of 82. Still, for a group of players with very little in the way of elite talent (really, the closest they have is Tomas Kaberle and maybe Vesa Toskala), it must be nice to beat such an amazing opponent.

While I didn’t get to watch the whole game, it must be said that the Maple Leafs looked like the much hungrier team. Ron Wilson seems to thrive in these against all odds scenarios and at least get his teams to work hard for him (especially if his team isn’t full of fantastic players like in San Jose).

Lidstrom wouldn’t even have to leave the city to find good advice on stylish face protection

Can’t help but wonder if the Wings would be better off with a Zetterberg – Datsyuk – Holmstrom line, just like the old days. Franzen – Hossa would still be pretty damn good, but whatev.

Also, Nicklas Lidstrom looked hilarious with his broken nose fix. Gotta hand it to hockey players for playing with injuries that would stop most athletes from suiting up.

Could we see Lidstrom in a Rip Hamilton-inspired schnoze mask? Please, oh please?