A Little Warmth on a cool Day

Steve says:

Well, the snow has fallen from the sky over the last couple of days...in Ottawa, we got 31cm in a day and a half...which made for a lot of shovelling...and some hot chocolate and back rubs afterwards.
I got a scoop which made it a lot easier to clear my 5 car driveway...and it will really come in handy this weekend when I prepare the backyard for the ice rink I am putting in this year...

but enough about me...
here's some warmth to get you through the cold winter days...


The Future!

Steve says:

It will be very interesting to see what teams do this trade deadline. Not only from a trading point of view but more importantly from a re-signing standpoint.
The reason is this. With the worlds economy going to the shitter, and teams all over the US struggling, it is expected that the NHL and the NHLPA will have to discuss lowering the salary cap to be more in line with the projected economy. They are looking at dropping it 3-5 million.

Where that comes into play is the salaries of current players will not go down relative to the salary cap reduction. which means teams that have signed players to long term deals for HUGE amounts will have to move a lot of other players to fit under the cap.

That makes situations like the upcoming Jaybo deal very intriguing...



GILMOUR has left the Marlies to be the Head Coach of the Kingston Frontenacs 

tonight is expected to be Fletch's last game as the GM...Burke expected to take over mid-week


Leafs strike Oil (ers)

Steve says:

What a game! Blake finally gets off his high horse and decides he better show up...and boy does he ever. He was all over the ice...forechecking, passing, digging in corners, mid-ice hits...doing everything except the one thing he was brought here to do which is score goals..but hey...who cares as long as he is givin' it out there...
Toskala was pretty good also. After a pretty rough start, I am starting to see Toskala get back into the form that made me like him as our goalie...hopefully he can bring his A+ game against the Nucks...not so much because of their offense, but because I think for the Leafs to win, it will be a close one...Robbie Lu is pretty hot between the pipes these days.

oh..and the Sens got schooled by...wait for it...the Islanders....!

some days it is really good to be a Leafs fan in Ottawa...today is one of those days.


Leafs steamroll the Habs

Steve says: 

Well that was a much better result compared to the last time we met the Habs. Those Canadiens are dirty dirty dirty. several hits from behind, tripping up players going into end boards, slewfooting...terrible...but the Leafs weren't exactly sparkling clean either...Grabovski nailed Price with a butt end that wasn't warranted...but I guess he wanted to show his old team that all ties were cut.

good work by all...too bad about Van Ryn broken pinkie finger...that will keep him out for a month or more.

Now the boys head west..

Go Leafs!


History is made...and The Comeback (almost) Kids

Steve says:


down 3-0....we get 1
then down 4-1...and we storm back to tie it
a goal by Blake is called back (early whistle)

only to have a shot from the point go in past a screened Toskala.
Another painful loss after a storybook comeback.

Seems these guys love to bounce back in the 2nd period.

That Grabovski / Kulemin / Hagman line is deadly!


Leafs beat Brodeur 6-5

Steve says:

Considering that this is the 2nd game in as many nights, I'd say this game was won due to the coaching of Wilson. He recognized that not all of our guys had legs for the whole night and he played the 4th line more than usual to make up for it and let his 1st line rest a bit more...the result was some great hard fore checking that led to a lot of scoring chances.I wasn't surprised that we looked a bit slow at times, but for the most part, Brodeur kept the Devils in this game. There were at least 5 times that Marty pulled out some magic tonight including one save where he snagged it with his blocker hand as the puck headed towards the goal line.Stajan and Moore had incredibly good games, and again, Schenn played a solid D game. The penalty at the end was bad luck. The reason we looked slow in the OT was because we were on the PK, and it took them a bit of time to get out of that mode.Great game...thanks for the win on my B-day boys!

Stamkos' first NHL point

Steve says:

There's some trivia for you...against what team did future NHL star Steven Stamkos get his first point.....wait for it...oh yes...it's the Leafs.
It was a good game spotted with a bit of sloppy D which I am not used to seeing from our guys anymore....also some blind passes in the Offensive zone that didn't pan out they way we'd all hoped it would...

but really it was a good effort by the Tampa netminder, Smith, and a couple of highlight goals by Lecavilier that won the game.

The Lightning were due for a win...and our guys just could not finish on all the chances we generated, and there were many chances.

The next game should be interesting against the Devils...we're up against a goalie who is on the hunt to break Patrick Roy's win record....

hopefully he doesn't get one game closer tonight.

ps. the pic is of Lecavilier scoring with Stamkos behind him just after the pass...



Chris says:
For once I agree with my colleague. The Sens\Leaf game was beautiful.


The Battle of Ontario - Round 1

Goes to Toronto!


a picture is worth a thousand words...


Win #2 ! 4-2 vs. Boston

Steve says:

That was a really good game for our guys...there were some big hits, and we stood up for ourselves. We won puck battles in the corners and best of all, we didn't give up after being down 2-0.
No Blake in the lineup didn't stop us from having a lot of shots on net, but this time some of them went in...
Toskala got his 100th win which is cool.
Van Ryn got his first goal as a Leaf.
Hagman played another solid game.
Schenn was pretty solid for the most part. He took a couple of penalties standing up for teammates which I am totally OK with and he was cool and collected on the PK. Great future for this kid...and it looks like he'll stay up with the big club for the duration.


A Good Effort

Steve says:

well finally we have a Leaf team that doesn't throw down their sticks in the 3rd period. in fact, quite the opposite. The Leafs held the Ducks off the shots list for the entire 3rd period ...and most of the 2nd as well...that's pretty cool.

they still lost, which sucks, but at least we fought back which is something this team has been missing for a long time, namely, the desire and beleaf that they can come back from anything.

Not sure I would have switched out Toskala for Cujo, but at least they are trying new things...#'s wise it's a smart play...but Cujo looked pretty cold out there...hopefully Toskala picks up his shootout skills...it looks like there will be a lot of ties this year.


between the #'s

Steve says:

Hollweg runs a kid from behind. The kid sees the hit coming and turns his back (rookie mistake). Hollweg gets a match penalty, and a 3 game suspension and all of Leafs Nation starts to turn him into the new whipping boy.

Malkin, one of the NHL's poster boys, runs Semin in the back. Malkin gets a 2 minute boarding penalty.

Kostitsyn, on the glorious 100 year old Habs team, runs Wideman into next week...he starts his charge at the blue line and ends it somewhere around row 5 in the stands...verdict? 2 minute boarding.

Now you may make the argument that Hollweg has a history and I will give you that. This guy has got to stop hitting like that. He must adapt his game if he hopes to continue on.
But, the whole point of the stiff sentences is to not only get Hollweg to change his ways, but also to send a message to all players that the league will not tolerate hits from behind.

I cant see how the message will ever get across if the only player being actually punished for doing this is Hollweg.


HNIC Theme Song

Chris says:

I'm....okay with it. Now, go out, vote and be merry.

Steve says:





and it does not flow smoothly from the voice over at the start...
I preferred the one by the kid...

oh well...


Game 1 - Win #1 3-2 vs. Detroit

Chris says:

....son of a bitch...

Did....did....did the Leafs just win that?

Wow. Nicely done.

More energy than skill. But I don't say that to be negative. A win is a win. It was a great effort and despite all the roadblocks ahead of them I wish the Leafs the best.

Go Leafs go!

Steve says:

I actually missed the game because I had to play a gig with Shannon Rose...but during our soundcheck, I was able to sneak off to a nearby pub that had the game showing on their patio. I managed to see the 2nd goal the Leafs scored and, while not a pretty goal, it showed that this team is going to fight the other team for every inch of ice out there...
then I was distracted by the group of Uni students that arrived...all the women were in bras and panties...not sure what was going on, but I knew it was going to be a good night all around...

played a great show, and then found out from a buddy that we had actually won!...I was totally shocked!

Great goal (and steal) by Kulemin....

Go Leafs!

next up, the Habs...



here's a list of all our guys and their stats for preseason

Jason Blake is a Point Pre Game guy!...and a +1
woo hoo!


Is Schenn in?

found this in an article by Mike ulmer on mapleleafs.com today...


Unless he completely regresses, Luke Schenn seems sure to make the Leafs. The Leafs are sure to carry Pavel Kubina, Jonas Frogren, Tomas Kaberle, Anton Stralman and Jeff Finger. That likely leaves two or three sports for competition between Carlo Colaiacovo, Ian White (ugh), Mike Van Ryn and Staffan Kronwall.

Chris says:

Don't believe everything you read. It would be better for the Leafs over the long hall if they sent this guy down for a little seasoning.


Elisha Update

Ok...so the footage was obviously shot a while back as she is with the Goon Avery...
but she gets Punk'd...it's kinda weak though IMO


pre-season game #2

Leafs lost, but it was a decent game...
2 of the Pens goals went in off our Defenceman's skate...so that's just bad luck...
the 3rd Pens goal was a bed turnover by Stralman...he fell down coughed up the puck to Malkin...big mistake...

Our goalie had no chance...2 on 0....besides that, he was awesome in nets...

Our forwards didn't do a whole lot until the 2nd half of the game...then Blake and Kulemin started to really turn it on...the Pens goalie kept them in the game for sure...Antropov started using his size which was good to see...knocking around the Pens defenders :-)

2 late goals (including a highlight goal by Grabovski)  made it close, but no cigar...

I'm ok with the loss...at least we didn't give up like we have in years past....and Grabovski showed that he could be an offensive power with some more ice time...woo hoo...


Free Agency rant

what do you think of the idea of having Cujo back to backup Vesa...maybe pass on some knowledge...and be a decent back up to rest Vesaeverynow and then...he wouldn't command a lot of $$...and could fill in for 20-ish gamesHoward Berger says he has a few sources that say that it is likely thatCujo will end up in Toronto tomorrow (July 1)


Cujo for one year at 700k isn't terrible.Then we bring up Pogge to backup Toskala with the eventual idea ofmaking him your starter.

exactly...I think it's a great acquisition.I'm on the fence about Jeff Finger...looks like he could turn out to begood, but that's a big chunk of coin for an unproven guy...

On Ron Wilson's say so it sounds.

he's got good #'s and i remember him in the play-offs and thinking thathewas a solid hitter...I think he's a good add simply because he is a stay at home Dman...whichissomething we have needed for a while...he doesn't do much offensively, but ...they say the best offence is a good defence!

I'm not sold on him yet.But he'll have lots of time to prove himself.

i just youtubed Finger (man...that sounds dirty)and a lot of his footage is big hits followed by fights, where Fingerstakes guys down to the ice...

So they're looking for a new Domi/Tucker

basically...I thought Mayers was the new Tucker...
it just looks to me that we are getting big guys that can play welldefensively which falls inline with Ron Wilson's style of coaching...I guess we are hoping that Blake and Antro and Stajan all turn it up anotch to core more goals..It makes sense since a lot of our losses were due to poor D play and notdue to lack of goals....I think we can score enough (especially if Kelumin turns out to be asgoodas his reports say he will...)...we just need to keep the puck out ofourown net...especially in the 3rd period..

I still say we need a better goal scorer

i don't disagree...but lets see what Fletch does...and Kulemin might be pretty damn good...
I don't see how Sundin can turn down the Canuck offer...so I doubt he iscoming to us...
screwed at trade deadline,...screwed in offseason...damn

20 mill for two years.Damn. I want him back but if that's his worth on the free market...

and Mats just announced that he isnt ready to make a decision yet about next year!http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=242264&lid=headline&lpos=topStory_main

that means even $20mil cant make him hurry up...crazyso..my thinking is that he is either going to retire, or is waiting to see what Fletch does...or..that he is thinking that even at $20 mill he is still not joining a cup contender...but he didn't exactly jump at the MTL offers did he?and Detroit took Hossa..so...that's out...

Or he could retire and then come back to a cup contender just before the
trade deadline.

I don't see that happening as that would make him a Rental player...and we know how he feels about that...


The Silver Fox does it again, unfortunately


Hey look everybody!!! Cliff is trading away draft picks again.

Jamal Mayer, 33 years old, 51 goals, 58 assists and 576 penalty minutes for a third round draft pick.

(Chris rolls up newspaper and waves it in front of Cliff's face)

No! Bad Cliff.

No no no...you gotta look at it like this
trade Kilger for 3rd round pick...trade that 3rd round pick for Jamal Mayers
which means Kilger for Mayers...
and Kilger was turning into a train wreck...didn't even report to camp for Florida.

So, although he is not the youth Fletch has been preaching, he is a bit of grit who plays with a lot of heart every night....unlike the person who, in my opinion, Mayers will be replacing...namely Tucker...

Tucker is afraid to drop the gloves these days and seems more bark than bite...while he still has a wicked shot, it's a one-trick pony show..and was defended with ease all last season...

not a bad move IMO.
ps. STL fans are sad to see him go...and say that it's a bad move on their part...


Oh for Pete's sake.

He's a third line player. At best.

He's 33 years old and that sound you hear when he steps on the ice isn't the puck hitting the mesh or his gloves dropping, it's his bones creaking.

I know Kilger has issues and I haven't the foggiest what those issues are. But this is not a Kilger for Mayer trade.

This was a third round draft pick that could have been used for anything else, attached as part of a larger trade for example, instead of picking up even more vet talent that we don't need.

I'm not running down Jamal or his abilities. But he's not the kind of player we need right now.


Ahh...see...you are so impatient...first of all...many STL followers are saying that if Jamal plays for toronto, that he will become a fan fave within 10 games.
Now the important part of that last sentece is the "IF" he plays in Toronto.
There is now talk of bundling Mayers with a later round pick for Cammalleri from the Kings...


that's looks alright doesn't it?

Trader Cliff is on the clock!


God help us all.


Say hi to the new boss, same as the old boss

Chris says:

No surprise, Fletch is hanging on for another season as the Leafs GM. That means Leaf Nation has to resign themselves to waiting another year before any sort of significant rebuilding plan is in the works. It's clear that Cliff will be nothing more than a temporary steward for the organization, even if he did get to drop 'interim' from his title, as they wait to see if they have a stake in the Brian Burke lottery.

I don't mean to run Fletch down, but he's not going to be able to institute any kind of sweeping organizational change because he won't be kept around long enough to implement anything. Why bother putting the man's name on the office door, he won't be around long enough to earn it. Fletch'll be competent enough, chucking some of the dead weight overboard, and leaving his replacement with a better hockey club than he himself inherited. But essentially it's another season on pause as we wait for our real saviour.

It's a slap in the face. It says that we don't care enough about winning to turn things around now. We'd rather wait a year because we think the perfect man for the job wants us as much as we want him.

Memo to MLSE: He's just not that in to you. There are no guarnatees that Burke will come to Toronto next year. And if that's the case then we'll have sacrificed one more season to the altar of incompetence and organizational inertia.

It's time for some new blood at MLSE, and the first place they should start with is with their corporate governance.


Steve says:

From the Bill Watters Radio Show: Apparently there is a team willing to trade with the Leafs that would see Toronto move up in the draft, all the while still maintaining their seventh overall draft choice. It is likely the team interested is looking to acquire an NTC player.

From Leafs Lunch Radio Show:
Cliff Fletcher was a guest and said that since the team did not make the playoffs, they really only have three no-trade clause players on the roster. Cliff is of course not including Kubina, who is more than likely to be traded, or Mats Sundin, who is a free agent.Cliff later went on to say that a team has indeed offered him a first-round draft pick in this year's draft in exchange for a player. He, for obvious reasons, wouldn't name the Maple Leafs player going the other way, or who the other team involved was.He also said he is trying actively to move the remaining no-trade clause players before pursuing other avenues.


Theme Song

Chris says:

CTV just bought the rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme. That's the corporate equivalent to knocking the other guy down and waving your reproductive organs in his face.

Way to go CBC, a classic piece of Canadiana has just been traded away to a corporation, who will milk that sucker for every last penny, because you were to cheap to pay royalty residuals anymore.

You'd rather pay 100,000 dollars to come up with a new theme song that won't have a fraction of the emotional resonance. The asking price couldn't have been that much, because less than one business day after your negotiations folded CTV was ready and willing to step up where you chose to fade away.

Congrats CBC, another step towards irrelvance. You make it really hard to support you.

Oh. And Ron Wilson is now the head coach of the Leafs. We'd better hope like hell Burke wants to coach here. Otherwise we run the risk of having another dysfunctional relationship between our GM and our head coach.

Steve says:

yeah the CBC screwed up...but ya know what...I dont care...I thought I would...and maybe I should...but TSN will have it on before every game...and they are showing more hockey this year than CBC ever did.. and every game will have at least 1 Canadian team..and a lot of the games are Leafs games..
So I think it is clear that TSN understands Canadians love of hockey more than the CBC ever did...even though HNIC has been the highest rated show on CBC since...well...ever as far as I know...I imagine having Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy will fill the void on CBC...ha ha ha ha ha

someone should be fired.


Here we go again!

Steve says:

Hey Leafers!

I'm gonna start writing on here again after a few months on nothing major happening. Now there is finally something to discuss.

Fletch has made some decent deals to get the Leafs some more picks and cleared up some cap space.

He wasn't able to achieve the BIG TRADE we were all hoping for due to the NTC's that JFJ handed out like candy. But, now the gloves can come off. Basically now, if you are unwilling to waive the NTC, Fletch is either going to buy you out, or send your ass down to the Marlies (who did really well this year!).

Sundin is still on the fence about his return...his latest comments indicate that he wants to see the Leafs make some real changes towards putting together a winning team. It looks as though Fletch is about to make the first big move.

A lot of rumours are pointing towards Ron Wilson (ex. Sharks coach) taking over the bench duties in Toronto.

I think this is a big upgrade from PM who could never really adapt on the fly during a game. He was also a soft coach who seemed really interested in being liked by the media more than disciplining his team for shoddy play.

Wilson is not like that. He's been known to bench star players when they don't perform. He calls players out in the media for poor work ethic.

I think the Leafs are about to say goodbye to the country club at the ACC.


This is the end....one last hurrah!

Steve says:

Well here it is...I figure this will be my last post for a while...since the Leafs are out of the playoffs and there are only 2 games left, there wont be a whole lot to talk about except for:
- Nikolai Kulemin coming to the Leafs next year...cant wait for that!
- will Sundin sign with the Leafs before the July 1st deadline (don't hold your breath)
- how fast can we kick Raycroft to the curb?
- has McCabe already packed his bags and bought his ticket to New York? everyone is expecting him...
- will we make a good offer to keep Stajan?
- will Brian Burke trade the beach and sun for daily press scrum madness and the TTC?

Ok...so maybe there may be a few things left to talk about...

We have 1 game left that I am interested in,....tonight's game against the Sens. We can play a huge part in knocking them out....Toskala in nets, Sundin and Antropov out....

go Leafs!!!!!!
ps. even if they win tonight, it will only be their 19th home win...wonder if that's why they are not in the playoffs?
pps. next year also is the first year we dont have Belfour on our cap hit anymore... :-)


the race

Steve says:

Well..Draft day has come and gone...Fletch made a few deals...mostly getting rid of cap hits and trading them for draft picks in the next couple of seasons...
I like the move...with the NTC 5 not waiving, I expect some action this summer...McCabe in the minors perhaps? A Raycroft buyout...man I wish we could stop paying goalies after they leave us (see Belfour).

And since it would appear as though the remaining vets and the Marlies callups have no plans to throw in the towel, I figured it was time to take a look at what needs to happen to make the big show...

So i'll start following the race again to see how close we get to that magical 8th spot...

right now we sit 12th in our conference, but we have been playing fantastic hockey...5 wins in the last 6 games...really strong defensive play and some incredible goaltending has given us a chance in every game...and Sundin, ever since declaring his unity with Leaf Nation, has really turned it on and shown everyone what it truly means to carry a team on your back (The Clown could learn a thing or 2)

So...in order to help our position, the following games played tonight require the following outcomes:

Toronto over Tampa
New Jersey over Washington
Montreal over Buffalo
Minnesota over Florida

What would this do? It would allow Toronto to leapfrog over Washington into the 11 spot leaving us 2 points behind NY Islanders and 4 points out of the 8th spot.
sounds good right?
There's a but.


Washington and Buffalo each have 1 game in hand on Toronto, and Philadelphia has 2 games in hand...

so the race is tight....17-ish games left

more updates to follow

Go Leafs


the future

Steve says:

So it seems like we can beat the top teams (Ott, Det, Mtl) but cant seem to muster up enough cahones to take out the teams we actually need to beat if the playoffs are in our future (Buf, NYI).

Thant's ok though, cuz with each loss, we are that much closer to having the #1 draft pick (STAMKOS!!!). And since it appears (for the moment) that Sundin is not actually gonna lift that NTC, then we need to prepare for the worst...and that means losing Sundin to either another team and get nothing for him, or lose Sundin to retirement, or resign Sundin to a big contract in order to keep him over the summer.
those 3 options kinda blow, but that looks like how it will play out.

We do have some other assets to work with however. And at every game now there are more and more scouts out to see our wares. Last night Dallas scouts were in town to watch Blake. They lost to Toronto last summer in a bidding war to get Blake, and now that they can smell blood, they are back in the hunt.
I personally hope Blake stays. Dallas does not have a lot to offer us for him, and he is really starting to become the player I was expecting him to be. I always knew he wouldnt reach that 40 goal plateau again (esp not with this lineup) but I knew he would drive the net hard, take a lot of shots in hopes of rebounds and ...let's face it..the guy is one of the only Leafs who shows up every night.

keep Blake
keep Toskala
keep Moore
figure out the Sundin issue

the rest are up for grabs


another quick look

Steve says:

So it is looking less and less likely that our boys will make the big show. Even with some fantastic efforts against some of the top teams in the league, we just have not been consistent enough throughout the year to really make a good run deep into the playoffs.

I am still on the fence about if they should push hard to make it into that last spot, or if they should coast and regroup with some good picks for next season...
There are too many questions in the air to decide that with the trade deadline fast approaching....

So instead, here's a quick look at tomoroows games and the needed results to help get us closer to that elusive 8th spot...

Car def. Bos (keeps Boston within reach)
Phi def Nyi
Mtl def Tbl
Ott def Buf

I hate having to cheer for Ottawa....but really it helps out the Leafs...or does it?
argh ...my brain!


Ghost town

Steve says:

well..this, like many other Leaf blogs has become a dried up deserted ghost town.

With nothing but negative things to say, it becomes harder and harder to find something to feel good about in Leafland.

Yes there is the draft (Stamkos Stamkos!) and yes we have Trader Cliff at the helm. But finding the silver lining in a 8-0 whipping is really hard to do.

One good thing that happened yesterday is that Fletcher put Woznieski up on waivers. This guy has been a disaster on defence since day one...so it is a good thing that someone finally took him away from Paul Maurice, who for some inexlicable reason, kept putting Woz out there...and at crucial times too!

It looks like Sundin is not planning on waiving his no trade..so that means either he is retiring, or hopes to get signed by another club in the summer, or his hanging them up. I gotta think that going out while the team you have Captained for so long is dredging along at the bottom is not what Mats had in mind.



holy crap!


Steve says:

Sundin will be traded...the next few weeks will spew forth a bazillion different trade ideas...I started to write out some of my predicitions but realised it was a no-win battle...I could type for days with "what if's" but in the end only 1 thing is true...Sundin, our Captin will be wearing a different jersey within the 3-4 weeks.


But it will be a pivotal point for the Buds...we will get something (or someone) great in return...I have faith that Fletcher will make a fantastic deal for Sundin (and Antropov?..oops..they are I go...) and the Leafs will look a lot better this time next year...

On a side note, I am hoping to go the the game on Feb 9th against the Red Wings...if you have tickets that you want to donate...feel free to contact me



Welcome to the new boss, same as the old boss...

Chris says:

So Cliff Fletcher is riding shotgun at MLSE.

Try as you might it’s nearly impossible to resist the urge to run into the washroom and continually flush the toilet. For real life authenticity the crapper may even back up on you and spill its filth everywhere.

Welcome to the madhouse.

Make no mistake, Ferberger was not a winning variable for this club, inexperienced and hamstrung by his own bosses he was able to create a team that lived on the bubble of playoff heaven, but wasn’t able to accomplish much else. As much as people might want to lay the failure of this season at his feet it wouldn’t be entirely accurate. The problem is larger than just one man, it is systemic and festers daily in the highest ranks of this hockey mad town.

But if you think Fletcher is the man to turn this team around, I address you to the aforementioned toilet. Fletcher is, at best, another temporary band-aid in a long line quick fixes or, should things take a turn for the worst – and they will, a convenient fall guy to pin the blame on after his turnaround plan to fix the team does anything but.

No, despite all the fuss and hubbub not much has changed for Leaf fans today. We’ve traded one dysfunctional GM for another and though journalists will spend the next couple of days shoving microphones into the faces of anyone who cares all the over analysis in the world won’t do a damn thing, until someone with a little authority decides to focus on winning games and not how to jack up ticked prices.

Steve says:
I agree AND disagree.
While I don't think Fletch will bring us the cup, I do think that he is perfectly capable of making the big Sundin Trade. He was the one that got us our best player...he also got us Doug Gilmour for a bag of pucks essentially...
This guy knows how to trim fat (Woz Raycroft, and White...I'm looking at you) and make a big deal where big deals cant be seen.
I know there have been talks with Brian Burke about coming to Toronto, and that publicly he denies wanting to come here, many "sources" have said that his ego is almost demanding that he come to Toronto and take the basement team to the Big Show.
If Fletch could work a deal with the Ducks (who have Edmonton's 1st pick btw) and then we somehow snag Burke from the sunny west coast...it would be the steal of the decade!

I have a sense of hope again with Fletch making a few deals and being instrumental in choosing the new GM and President (great news...great news!). While I agree that he shouldn't remain at the helm, I do think that he can at least right the ship and get it into smoother waters for the next guy...


The guillotine---UPDATED


Steve says:

Leafs are on the ice...JFJ not going to the prospect game...Fletcher back from vacation...MLSE has board meeting yesterday to disucc the terms for getting Fletcher...Tannebaum apparently rallying not to get Fletcher on board (LT was the guy who fired Fletcher last time)...looks like PM is safe for now...One of the major sticking points of the Fletcher deal is that the Board would approve the budget for the fiscal year and then step back and let Fletcher do his thing...wonder if that will happen...

Will the guillotine fall on JFJ's job today?


a quick look

Steve says:

I haven't done this for a bit...but since we have won a couple, the parade is back on,

Here's what needs to happen to help us out tonight...

Jersey over Florida
Edmonton over Carolina
Atlanta over Buffalo
Tampa over Penguins

then we'll see what happens on Sat night...

will Fletcher be our new GM on Mon/Tuesday when he gets back fomr Mexico?
Why isn't Peddie speaking to media all of a sudden? Neither is JFJ either...
Will they fire JFJ if the Leafs win3 or 4 in a row?


A streak?

Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins
Toronto wins 3 - 2 (S.O.)

Chris says:

Toskala's first shootout win, and a great shootout victory for Steen. There was some sweet hockey being played in Beantown last night.

That sound you heard last night was the collective snapping of all the ankles in Toronto as people hurried to make space for themselves on the Leafs bandwagon.

If you listen real hard you might even the same sound from Ottawa as Steve processes the ramifications of a two game 'streak'.

Suddenly winning two games balances out that five game free fall and all is forgiven, if not forgotten.

But it's not that easy. The Leafs aren't a bad team, they just aren't good enough to crack the playoff threshold. That means that they're going to put together some winning streaks, just like any other team, but it also means that there losing streaks will be longer and more painful.

There are two trains of thought circulating about what the remainder of the Leafs season is going to shape up as.

1. Playoff bound. This season is far from over and given the right wins under the right circumstances we can back in the hunt for a playoff position before the end of next week. I'm going to file this under 'P' for Possible, but highly unlikely.

2. Then there are the people who think the Leafs should start tanking games, on purpose. (Instead of, y'know, losing them accidentally like they are right now) The logic being that the worse the Leafs do in the standing the better our draft pick. Here's my official response.

Do you really want to cheer and support a team that intentionally loses games? Is a solitary high level draft pick really worth the knowledge that your team went out there to screw the pooch? That kind of thinking smacks of everything that's wrong with professional sports these days. It says that players are only in the game for a paycheque and that pride, honour and competitiveness aren't a factor at all.

If the Leafs finish up in the bottom of the standings, let it be a testament to their (in)ability, not their willingness to take a dive.

Steve says:

Not that I want them to lose...but I am looking at a bigger picture here..even if we somehow manage to get into the playoffs, I just don't think this team has either the talent or mental ability to maintain a deep run or the Cup run. I would love to be proven wrong. And I will be cheering them on with every breath if they manage to sneak in there...
looking ahead to next year, it would be a lot sweeter if we could be picking first at the draft.
Not only that, but with Sundin as a rental player we could also have from Vancouver a package deal involving a top prospect (one of goalie Cory Schneider or defenseman Luc Bourdon), plus first- and second-round draft picks...and possibly even Ryan Kesler in a deal to sweeten the pot!
All of this is because Canuck center Brendan Morrison is out of action due to wrist surgery.

Can you imagine what next year would look like if we had the 1st pick at the draft, Luc Bourdon, Ryan Kesler, re-sign Sundin, plus Vancouvers and our own 2nd round picks!!!!

Holy crap we would be good!

Look...I think the Leafs are a team with huge heart, but with players like Wozniewski and White getting regular shift, Tucker falling off in both skills and health, Sundin with not a lot of help (love ya Blake, but dude ya gotta start putting them in the back of the net more!) I just think this franchise would benefit hugely from some good fortune in the not to distant future in lieu of another average season...just like we have seen since the 90's...

Go Leafs Go!


Front Office Follies...

Chris says:

Some thoughts on Cliff Fletcher.

If he wasn’t good enough to keep around the first time, he’s probably not the man for the job the second time around.

Damian Cox at the Star has a good take on that angle which I, mostly, agree with.

Personally, I’d like to see new solutions to this problem, not old band-aids who may have lost their effectiveness to staunch the blood loss.


Free Tickets

Carolina Hurricanes at Toronto Maple Leafs
Leafs win 5-4

Chris says:


At the absolute last minute S and I got tickets to the Leafs game last night, for the shiny price of cheap as free.

We were in the second row in the lower reds so the seats were absolutely phenomenal. If I can get away with it at work, I’ll upload a couple pictures from last night’s game.

Our seats allowed us access to the Air Canada executive lounge. (Think of it as the place where all the rich, old, fat, white men go to die.) It was pretty swank. But, on our way up to the lounge we had to pile into an elevator with David Suzuki. And by pile into an elevator I mean I was literally squished into David’s personal breathing room, which was just awkward for the both of us. Cool, but awkward.

Then in the exec lounge, I’m drinking one of my el cheapo eight dollar domestic beers when I look up to see Wendel Clark at the table next to me. S flatly refused to believe it was Clark until they flashed an older picture of him up on the overhead screen just before the game.

And FINALLY, as we’re sitting in our seats getting a little picture happy with the camera, (look I never thought I’d ever get an opp to be this close to the game – they really were great seats), Walter Gretzky came out and started posing for pictures with all the kids and their parents in the back of the section right in front of us. The man was literally five feet away. We snapped a couple pics but they honestly weren’t the greatest.

I honestly don’t go in for the fanboy routine, but there I was in free Leaf seats, in the lower bowl, with a beer in my hand and an opportunity to meet Walter Gretzky.

Chris = happy.

Oh, and the Leafs won too, which was pretty great.

Steve says:

You bastard! Sooo lucky!
David Suzuki! amazing!

That's really cool. I imagine that was a lot of fun.
I was only able to see highlights since I am stuck in Ottawa, and I cant even see the game on TV.
As for the game itself, I am actually surprised that they won. But they just held on against the late period surge. But everyone looked shaky to me. Even Toskala let out some HUGE rebounds...some great saves, but also some huge rebounds....which did cost him.
And Kubina decision to ice the puck with 8 seconds left in a 1 goal game was probably not the best choice to make.
The Ferguson interview was a refreshing change from the usual white-washed answers we get from Leafs people. He basically said that the team underachieved and that the buck stops with him. No running, no hiding or anything...just straight up answers...weird.
Also, I saw Blake on "The Hour" last night and it was pretty clear to me that he doesn't want to stay in Toronto. When asked about why he wasn't scoring goals like last year, he responded "sometimes change is good...and then , like this, sometimes change is bad".
When asked if he would finish the season here, he just sort of laughed and said "we'll see".
Never, at any point did he say that he wants to stay in Toronto and be a part of turning things around (like Sundin does at every chance).

that was a bit disheartening.

So I guess a win was good...but does it just prolong the pain of havig Peddie and JFJ running the ship...will JFJ be in charge of a Sundin trade?


mo winning = mo problems

Steve says:

I just watched the interviews with Sundin and PM on the Leafs TV online clips and I thought they they both were in really good spirits considering everything going on around them.

Sundin said that he wants to stay in Toronto, PM put Steve Simmons in his place about starting firing rumours (that was great cuz Simmons is a tool).

2 great interviews....


both guys state that winning makes the problems go away...and I don't agree...I think winning a few more games this season..even squeaking into the playoffs actually creates more problems than it fixes.

If they win, JFJ will get an extension.

If they win, JFJ will not trade away Tucker for someone who can still take a slapshot one timer and hit the net.

If they win, Woznewski and White will continue to police our blue line with as many wholes in their play as the Mexico/ US border.

I hope some big changes happen this week...
Ferguson is gone baby gone. At this stage in the game it doesn't matter how much they win. The fans don't believe he's got it, the board doesn't believe he's got it...right now, dumping him overboard would be akin to a mercy killing.
I will say this for him. I don't believe the man ever got a fair shake at doing his job, without unessecary interference.
I also think that it's really easy for us to sit back and armchair manage the whole team, but let's be reasonable, if all of Leaf Nation can spot the obvious it's pretty clear that JFJ can see it too. He's inexperienced, not a moron. The level of politcal intrigue that he has to deal with on a daily basis is probably more than any one of us will have to deal with in our entire lives.
Three years ago the Leafs brought in a rookie GM, someone so inexperienced that he wasn't able to dictate the terms of his own employment. An older, wiser, more experienced GM isn't even going to sign his name on a contract without EXPLICIT guarantees that this is his team to run as he wants.
So the board walked all over him, kept him dancing from one year to the next, and the result is the kind of team you see us icing now.
Change is in the air. But how significant the change is likely to be is anyone's guess. The Leaf's are great at cosmetic changes, but wholly crap at dealing with systemic failings.



Chris says:

If the question is how do the Leafs win more games, Pogge is not the answer.

It's indicative of the just how much the Leafs are panicing that they would even think of calling Pogge up to potentially have him start a game. From what I've heard he's at least another year away from being a legitimate goalie.

By even calling him up it says the Leafs are hoping that their number four guy on the depth chart has enough mad skills in his pocket to make up for his complete lack of experience in the NHL. I don't know, maybe he does. I keep hearing the guy being touted as the Leafs next big thing, but I haven't seen him in action so I can't seperate the hope from the hype.

Rather than being a wake up call it comes off as a desperation move. It shows that the Leafs have abandoned smart hockey in favour of throwing any and everything at the wall and praying that something sticks.

The only way having Pogge as a starter makes any sense is if you officially call the season and want to try and groom him for a starters position next year. Even then you've still got three other guys ahead of him.

With the kind of games Raycroft has been posting no other team is going to take him off our hands. No other squad is desperate enough, or foolish enough, to think that Raycroft will be their saviour on the ice. He's shaping up to be a backup goaltender, if that. What happened to this guy? Where did that rookie sensation vanish too?

Clemmensen isn't a starter. He's good enough to hold Brodeur's skates, but he's not the guy you give the nod to on a nightly basis.

Toskala. I like him where he is. I'm absolutely not against the idea of having Pogge be the backup man to Toskala right now. It'll blood him, give him experience and the Leafs aren't going to lose anything by trying because at this point the season has gone way beyond just 'circling the drain' anyway.

You can't even pin last night's loss on him. He was good enough to nail the door shut for over forty minutes of play, on a pretty splashy showing by the Sharks no less. But how the hell is he supposed to do his job when the Leafs are taking stupid penalities and leaving the team at a two man disadvantage? On a team icing Thornton, Marleau and Cheechoo that's just a recipe for disaster.

Last night's game in a nutshell? The Leafs played good solid hockey for a period and a half last night, then they got tired, and sloppy and let the Sharks waltz back and steal it all away. If we'd finished the game with the same intensity in which we'd started it, and still lost, I'd say 'game well played' and some times the other team is just the better team.

But we lost because we gave up. Looks like the fans aren't the only ones who can see the writing on the wall

Steve says:

Bringing Pogge up is not a desperation move. We're beyond desperation now. This season is in the crapper and everyone knows it now...
But bringing Pogge up is a slap in the face of Raycroft. It's PM's way of saying "you little bastard...how dare you play that way on my team. You will now sit and watch as this kid takes your job!"
When they showed us Raycroft sitting and watching the game, it looked as though he was half asleep...even when we had the lead! That pissed me off.

Even Sundin is showing his frustration. A nice shove of the official at the end of the game was like an exclamation mark about the way he is feeling these days. I wonder if he saw the Scotty Bowman interview on CBC where Scotty basically said that MLSE (or more specifically, Richard Peddie) turned him down at the beginning of the season.
How many cups has this guy won? and on how many different teams in how many different situations....and Peddie turns him down why? because we are only 3 weeks away from training camp?

Holy F**************************************************************************************************************************K!




You'd have to be pretty slow on the uptake these days not to see just what kind of trouble our boys in blue are in. Steve and I spent a lot of time talking over possible solutions, trades, signings, callups and identifying potential stumbling blocks to achieving post season success, Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.

But I think after some of the shellackings we've been taking in recent days a couple things have become obvious.

1. This season is all but unsalvageable. We can either blow up the team, which I'm against, or we can start having a serious discussion about how we can use this to our advantage and shuffle the player roster a bit to prepare for the future. It's time to move some of our higher paid dead wood and start accumulating draft picks.

2. There is a serious and systematic failure in the Leafs organization. I label it the Teachers Pension Plan. It taints all decisions, creates bureaucratic paralysis and trades short term profitability for long term sucess. This is not a combination that will ever get us into the playoffs and until it is addressed, expect more of the same.

3. Fan revolt. The team has lost its focus on winning. Let's face it, the stands at the ACC will always be full. The better seats will always be full of buisnessman, wearing suits, looking to impress a client and leaving after the second period. Even the cheap seats are anything but. The team's reponse to middle class fan is to give us the one fingered salute while jacking up ticket prices and moving a growing number of games onto Leafs TV. And they do all this while the team ISN'T WINNING.

And we're starting to notice. We're starting to notice and frankly, dedicated, long time fans are begininng to walk away from the organization because we've had enough. For too long the Leafs have ruled the roost. They've been able to get away with continually dissapointing us and gouging us because they've given us a team just good enough to keep us on the edge of our seats. Only now they've stopped even doing that. They've given up on the fans and now the fans are giving up on them.

Mark my words, change is in the air.


I offered!!!

Steve says:

So i was finally in Toronto again and Chris actually showed up this time instead of faking an injury...I offered him $ for the Leafs TV bet and he turned it down!
(I wasn't sure how much the actual total was, so I offered at least $60 to start, and we could figure it out later)
Maybe Chris isn't the Leaf fan he makes out to be....

only time will tell...

ps. Thanks for coming to the show buddy....video to be posted soon


Not only did I

a) Have to pay to see the show. (What, no guest list?)
b) Be put to work. (Taped the whole damn for him)
c) I still didn't get my money

Around these parts, we call that the "Steve".


Elisha Watch 2008: slap shot!

Steve Says:

Nice slap shot Elisha!

Looking ahead to Philly

Steve says:

Saturdays game against the Flyers is pretty crucial as is is really a 4 point game. If we win, we jump over a few teams into the 10th spot right on the heels of the Flyers and in a position to sneak into a playoff spot.
Looking even further ahead, we have a few tough games against the Duck and Sharks...We should be able to beat the Kings...

so another interconference game and then a chance to gain a few points from west coast teams...we need to leave the past in the past and look forward...

A few wins against the west coast teams would do a lot for both team morale and our positioning.

Games 37,38,39,40, and 41

Steve says:

Well...I went away for a while thanks to some holiday time...but now I am back.
What has happened to our beloved Leafs in my absence?

game 37 - We lost to the Islanders 4-3 in OT
game 38 - We lost to the Flyers 4-1
game 39 - We lost to the Rangers 6-1
game 40 - We actually won a game against the worst team in the league, the Lightning. We won 4-3 in a shootout!
game 41 - we returned to the losing ways by getting utterly blown out of the water 6-2 by the Penguins.

...And so now we are at the halfway mark of the season. We are 13th in the conference, 26th in the League. our Record is 16-17-8 and we have a grand total of 40 points.

Toskala has been injured for the past little while with a groin pull. He is expected to return by Saturday's game against the Flyers. Raycroft tried to fill in for him and proceeded to lose 3 games in a row (14 goals in 3 games...yikes!)
So then they brought in Clemmenson...our goalie who is helping us so much in the minors where the Marlies are doing a splendid job....he luckily made saves in a shootout to give us a win, but when faced with the offensive force that is Malkin, Crosby and the Penguins, our Defence left Clemmenson out to dry...

Blake however, as I predicted, starting to show his offensive abilities. He scored both Leaf goals last night and had a 3 point game in the win against the Lightning.

So it has been a very VERY painful first half of the season. We've had some ups and many downs. One way to keep the spirits up is to realise that as bad as we are doing, we are only 3 points out of a play-off spot. That's a win and OT Loss....so things can turn very quickly.
We are starting to run short on time however...and it would be nice if the boys could turn things around this half and give us fans more reasons to cheer.

Go Leafs Go !
(as in Go get a new GM)

Chris says:

With the the terrible downturns we've been suffering through this year I'm honestly surprised that we're doing as well as we are.

Well being a relative term.

Ok. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I'm surprised we're keeping it as close as we are.

But here's the thing. This is as well as we're likely to do with these players. Offensively we're about average. Most nights we can manage to find the back of the net at least a couple times. Yah Blake hasn't been posting his usual numbers, but he gets a pass this year. (Actually, he gets a pass for as long as he has leukemia.) In goal, Toskala has proven himself to be a step up on Raycroft and his absense proves just how much we've come to rely on him.

Our problem continues to be on the defensive front. We've got good guys, guys who can kick the ever loving crap out of you and me. But essentially guys who aren't good enough to shut down the other side on any kind of consistent basis. That's not there fault. They look to be like they're playing to the best of their ability. It's just that there ability...isn't as strong as we'd like.

Will a new GM or a head coach help this team? Not this season and not with these players. Let Ferger-berger finish his walk of shame, hire a decent GM and then do the smart thing and BACK THE F#CK OFF.