Monday, December 28, 2009

My All-Time Leaf Team..(Okay, not All-time. Players I've Seen In My Life.)

So just so we're straight here. You're not going to find Ed Chadwick or Turk Broda on the list. You won't find Bill Barilko, Syl Apps or Teeder here either. Deserving as they may be, I am, although quite old, not that old, thank you very much. Instead you will find who I feel should be on the all-time Leaffans blogger (that's me) list.

This will be set-up like an actual team. 4 forward lines, 3 sets of defencemen, 2 goaltenders. Also a captain and 2 assistant captains.

Pre-requisites to being on this team are you must have played at least 3 seasons for the Buds and participated in at least one round of playoffs. Sorry Phil Kessel, Ian White and Vesa. Umm, actually Vesa, you had no chance anyway.

So without any further nonsense (I didn't know if the word was ado or adieu) here we go:

First Line:
Left Wing--#27Frank Mahovlich -- Without a doubt the best left winger ever on the Buds. The senator (the good kind) gets #27 because he wore it first

Centre--#9Darryl Sittler (C) -- Sitt gets the "C". First leaf in the 100 point bracket. #9 as a junior in London. Number in London retired. MLSE get the idea?

Right Wing--#8Lanny McDonald -- Lovable Lanny. Loved by everyone except Punch. The mustachioed marksman will always be a fan fave. Wearing number 8 because someone on defence has the rights to number 7 and Lanny wore number eight in Junior. He allowed Darryl to wear his Calgary number for this team.

Second Line
Left Wing--#17 Wendel Clark -- He of the big shot, big check, big mullet. Could he shoot? Just ask Cujo. Could he hit? Just ask Bruce Bell. Could he brush the mullet? Only his hairdresser knows for sure

Centre --#14 Davey Keon (A) -- The greatest skater the Leafs have ever employed. Straight stick, great shot, both wrister and back-hand. Power play, penalty kill, and never more than 12 minutes in penalties in a season while with the Leafs. But still, a very tough individual.

Right Wing--#6 Ron Ellis--Ronny could fly. 11 of his first 12 seasons with the Leafs he scored 20 or more goals and the season he missed 20 he potted 19. His whole career was spent with the Blue and White and retired when he was forced out by Punch. (What is it with Punch and right-wingers?)

Third Line
Left Wing--#25 Dave Andreychuk--Given his Sabre number of 25 because 14 is spoken for, Dave is a natural on this line with Gilmour. A true rugged veteran, Andreychuk parked himself in front of the opposition's net and battled. His best season was in 93/94 when he broke the 50 goal plateau

Centre--#93 Doug Gilmour (A) -- Killer joins a long list of terrific centremen and captains on this forever team. Acquired from the Flames in a lop-sided deal, Gilmour became the heart and soul of the Leafs in the early nineties

Right Wing--#22 Rick Vaive -- Another former captain on this team, came to the Leafs from the Canucks in the 79/80 season when the Punch cleanout was in full swing. 3 successive seasons of over 50 goals gets him the nod here.

Fourth Line
Left Wing--#22 Dave Tiger Williams -- I know Vaive is wearing 22 also, but it was going to come to blows, so I will let them duke it out later for the number. Tiger, all-time greatest fighter/scorer the Leafs ever had was traded along with Jerry Butler for Vaive and Billy Derlago.

Centre--#13 Mats Sundin -- Take all the centres on this team, throw their names in a hat and any of them could be the number 1 centre. Mats was an exceptional player for the Leafs playing 13 seasons before opting for free agency. Water under the bridge, Leaf fans, water under the bridge.

Right Wing--#10 George Armstrong -- Yet another former captain, Army played 20 seasons with the buds and won 4 Stanley Cups with them and was a 7 time all-star.

First Defense Pairing
Left Defence--#21 Borje Salming -- Best d-man the Leafs have ever had. Bar none. Great playmaker, great shot, great shot-blocker. Now he designs underwear in Sweden.

Right Defence--#7 Tim Horton -- Strongest player I have ever seen play the game. Great puck carrier, great defender, great haircut, GREAT coffee. RIP Tim.

Second Defense Pairing
Left Defence--#4 Red Kelly -- I know, I know, he was a centreman with the Leafs, but I couldn't fit him in there. And he was a d-man with the Red Wings before he was traded to the Leafs, so he's going back there for this team.

Right Defence--#21 Bobby Baun -- Anyone who scores a goal in overtime on a broken leg has to be on this team. As for his number, let him and Borje share it.

Third Defence Pairing
Left Defence--#2 Ian Turnbull -- 9 seasons with the Leafs, including two 20 goal seasons. A great puck-rushing defenceman who was a bit of a free-spirit. I'll never forget watching him pot 5 against the Detroit Red Wings. Great trivia question...who was in net that night for Detroit? Answer...Jim Rutherford and Ed Giacomin.

Right Defence--#15 Tomas Kaberle -- A close second to BJ Salming when it comes to puck carrying and vision on the ice for play-making. Not as strong defensively as Salming, but makes up for it with his ability to headman the puck

Starter--#1 Johnny Bower -- The China Wall. Toughest choices on this team were the goaltenders. Leafs have had a number of very good ones, but I have to go with the flagship of the franchise here. The recording star, "Honky, Honky the Christmas Goose", which may have a completely different connotation in today's market, was always my favorite as a young boy growing up

Back-up --#31 Curtis Joseph -- Cujo, on the strength of wins alone, gets on this team. One of the best at providing the save when you needed it (Vesa, please take note), Joseph was stellar in his first go-round with the Leafs

3rd goalie -- #29 Mike Palmateer -- I know I originally called for 2 goalies but,The Popcorn Kid is on this team just because I like him. He didn't have the greatest stats, but he would make some incredible saves. Probably the most "fun to watch" goalie in Leaf history

Coach -- Pat Quinn
General Manager -- Jim Gregory. Definitely not Imlach or JFJ.

As always, this list is very subjective and you may have other players/ideas/thoughts. Share them if you like. Or don't. Just remember...

Go Leafs Go and cheer like no one is watching you.

1 comment:

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed your latest entry. I'll even forgive your wisecrack about Vesa ;) Looking forward to reading more. Great job!