Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just Some More Random Musings

This is what happens to your brain when your team is 29th. Your mind tends to wander to things inane.

What if--JFJ hadn't traded Tukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft? Then Boston would really suck!

What if--JFJ hadn't traded a first round choice for Vesa Toskala? Then the Leafs wouldn't have J.S. Gigiuere

What if--The Leafs hadn't signed Jason Blake. Then Leaf fans definition of lots of money for very few goals would still be Owen Nolan

What if--Kerry Fraser had the cojones to give Gretzky the penalty he deserved? Then the Habs would have been Cupless for 25 years!


Enough with the staged fights and the fights after a clean hit. Fights are important to hockey when they mean something. When you are trying to swing the momentum towards your team. When your star player gets hit in a dirty fashion, not just hit. Not when some sad sack on the opposing team has the gall to throw a bodycheck. Not when the heavyweights from each team are on the ice, neither having scored a goal in 60 games, decide to duke it out at centre ice. Those fights mean nothing and both figuratively and literally leave the league with a black eye.
Along with the stupid fights...

STOP BANGING YOUR STICKS ON THE BOARDS AFTER A FIGHT! It looks like a bunch of juveniles offering encouragement.
No waving to the crowd, no posturing for the TV cameras, no pretending of putting on championship belts. This is not basketball or football where posing and funny face-making have become just as important as the scoring of points. This is hockey. Respect the game and each other.


For newer Leaf fans, the following is the criteria you need to follow before choosing a team to cheer for during Leafless playoff years.
  1. Do not cheer for a team that has never won the Stanley Cup
  2. Do not cheer for a team that has gone longer than the Leafs without winning the Stanley Cup
  3. Do not cheer for a team that has gone as long as the Maple Leafs without winning the Stanley Cup
  4. Do not cheer for a team that has not won the Stanley Cup since the 70's
  5. Do not cheer for a team that is an intense rival of your Toronto Maple Leafs.
This formula eliminates the following teams and therefore Leaf fans shall not cheer for the following teams in this years playoffs

Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings, Ottawa Senators, Phoenix Coyotes and the Nashville Predators are all teams who have never won the Cup and fall under Category 1

Chicago Blackhawks have not won the Cup since 1961 and are representative of category 2

Los Angeles Kings entered the NHL in 68, the first year that the Leafs went on their Cupless streak and having never won a Cup also fall under category 3

Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers haven't won a Cup since the early to mid 70's. They fall under category 4

The hated Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators are just that. Hated. They easily qualify under category 5.

That leaves Detroit and Colorado in the West and New Jersey, Pittsburgh and the Rangers (if the Blueshirts make it) in the East. Choose wisely, fellow Leafers, choose wisely. Myself, I am pulling for a Detroit/New Jersey final with the Devils winning it for dear Pat Burns

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Captain's Log

O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip does start;
The ship has weather’d every season, playoffs apart;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of blue,
Where on the bench my Captain tries,
To bring the winning back to you.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the cheers;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the applause does near;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the fans a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the bench,
You’ll rise and lead us ahead.

My Captain does not answer, his face a steely mask;
My father does not feel my arm, he only sees his task;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with Stanley won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with gleeful tread,
Skate the ice where my Captain does,
A Cup at last for us.
With sincere apologies to Walt Whitman.

Captains for the Maple Leafs since the most famous year of all (1967 for those of you who haven't heard) have neither won the Cup, nor retired as Captain of the team. A rather sad state all things considered.

George Armstrong #10--The Chief...Captain from 57-69...Gave up the Captaincy to Davey Keon...7 time all-star...Leaf coach during the 88/89 season finishing 5th in the Norris division and out of the playoffs.

Dave Keon #14--Captain from 69-75...Keon bolted from the Leafs to join the WHA's Minnesota Fighting Saints...Ended up with Hartford Whalers and played for them when they were brought into the NHL...Best season was a 38 goal/76 point season in 70/71... Still has ill feelings toward the organization but did return for an appearance in 2007 when MLSE honoured the 1967 team...Received a long standing ovation from the crowd that night

Darryl Sittler #27--Captain from 75-79 and 80-82. Best season was in 77/78 when he scored 117 points, the second time he cracked the 100 point mark with the Leafs...Traded to Philadelphia in 82 for Rich Costello, a second round pick (Peter Ihnachuk) and Ken Strong because of the poor relationship between him and management (read Harold Ballard)...ironically, Ballard had turned down a 1980 offer of Rick McLeish and Andre Dupont for Sittler...Sittler now works as an ambassador for the Maple Leafs

Rick Vaive #22--Captain from 82-86...3 consecutive 50+ goal seasons with the Leafs from 81-84...Played one season with the WHA's Birmingham Bulls and then drafted into the NHL by the Vancouver Canucks...Traded to the Leafs with Bill Derlago for Tiger Williams and Jerry Butler...Traded to Chicago with Steve (Stumpy) Thomas and Big Daddy Bob McGill for Al Secord and Ed Olczyk before the 1987 season

Rob Ramage #8--Captain from 89-91...Arrived in Toronto from Calgary for a second round choice in 1989...Played with Vaive in Birmingham as part of the "Baby Bulls"...Leaf management managed to show their incredible ineptitude by accidentally allowing him to be picked off in the Minnesota North Stars expansion draft in 91...Recently in the news due to a DUI conviction

Wendel Clark #17--Captain from 91-94...Traded to Quebec
in 94 for Mats Sundin among others and rejoined the Leafs two years later in a trade with the Islanders...Best goal scoring season was 93/94 when he scored 46 goals despite playing only 64 games...Best fight season was, well, pick 'em...Left again for the Tampa Bay Lightning but ended with another small tour of duty with the Leafs in the 99/00 season.

Doug Gilmour #93--Captain from 94/97..,Acquired from Calgary along with ahhhh, you know that trade don't you?....Best Leaf season was 92/93 with 127 points...Victim of the most famous "non-call" in Stanley Cup Playoff history...Traded to New Jersey
in 1997 for Alyn McCauley, Steve Sullivan and Jason Smyth...Returned to the Leafs for a sixth round choice from the hated Montreal Canadiens at the 2003 trade deadline so Dougie could finish his career as a Toronto Maple Leaf...he did, however, his career ended much sooner than expected, breaking his leg on his second shift back....Now coaching his hometown Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL

Mats Sundin #13--Captain from 1997-2008...Consistently the Leafs leading scorer throughout his career...Came to the Leafs as a result of a draft day deal featuring Wendel Clark...First overall pick of the Nordiques in 1989...Leaf career leader in just about every offensive category...Became a free agent after refusing to waive his NTC and eventually signed with the Vancouver Canucks.

The next captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Let's look at the candidates presently with their odds of becoming the next captain of the Maple Leafs

  • Dion Phaneuf -- Showing great leadership traits 3-1
  • Luke Schenn -- Fan favourite, can grow into position 9-2
  • Phil Kessel -- Best player not always best captain 12-1
  • Tomas Kaberle -- If he's still here the next year or two 15-1
  • Nikolai Kulemin -- Is Toronto ready for a Russian captain? 20-1
  • Tyler Bozak --Young, good player, too many in front of him. 50-1
For whomever the honour falls to, that player has to realize that it is just that; an honour to be the captain of the team at the centre of the hockey universe. It may be the most sacred honour in all of hockey, if not all of sports. When you are captain of the Leafs you are put on a pedestal, you become an icon. Only precious few ever get the call. Even fewer can do it proud. So, Dion, Luke, Phil, Tomas, or whoever it may be, whenever you are called, do it well. A whole nation will be watching.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Your first look at the 2010/2011 Leafs

Hello Canada and hockey fans in the United States
and Newfoundland. Tonight we bring you your first glimpse of the 2010/2011 Toronto Maple Leafs.

Youthful!!! Exciting!!! Truculent!!! That's right. Y E T. As in...Not quite Yet. But soon, Ladies and Gentlemen and Children of all ages. Very soon.

Mr. Burke has promised us that it is not a 5 year plan. He wants to be better sooner. Well, good luck to him and lets hope he doesn't stray from the path he's on as so many before him have done.

Let's take a look, shall we at our potential Leaf roster for 10/11

Nazem Kadri 20

Luca Caputi 21
Phil Kessel 23
Tyler Bozak 24

Nik Kulemin 24
Christian Hanson 24

Viktor Stalberg 24
John Mitchell 25
Mikahil Grabovski 26
Fredric Sjostrom 27

Colton Orr 28
Jamie Lundmark 29

Luke Schenn 21
Carl Gunnarsson 24
Dion Phaneuf 25

Mike Komisarek 28

Francois Beauchemin 30

Tomas Kaberle 32


J.S Giguere 33
Jonas Gustavsson 26

So that gives us only 3 players at 30 or over. Mr. Burke has certainly brought forth the youth for this team.

Waiting in the wings....
Gerry D'Amigo 19
Phillipe Paradis 19
Jesse Blacker 19
Kenny Ryan 19
Joel Champagne 20
Chris Didomenico 21
Jimmy Hayes 21
Dale Mitchell 21
Keith Aulie 21
Jurac Mikus 22
Tyler Ruegsegger 22

It's getting to be exciting to be a Leaf fan again. But please people, patience. Rome wasn't built in a day. Apparently building a Stanley Cup winner in this city takes even longer. Mr. Burke has a task ahead of him. It's gonna be fun!