mess with CBC and the Leafs? You're Fired!

Steve says:

Al Strachan is outta there! After releasing his book about the Leafs sucking, Strachan gets canned from the CBC Hotstove...

coincidence? Me thinks not.


ps. Oh and btw...games 2 through 7 sucked...well, 7 wasn't terrible...but...well...*sigh*


Game 1

Steve says:

Game one wasn't terrible.
Lets start with the positives for a change.
Our first line of Blake / Stajan / Stalberg was great. Every time they were on the ice, they were a threat...now they just need to turn some of that threat into finish (Stajan got 2 though which was nice for him).

Our other 3 lines played an average game. I was impressed with the defensive back checking of newcomer Wallin. Rosehill had a good bought. Kaberle was awesome...so controlled with the puck...glad we still have him around.

Toskala played a typical Toskala game from last season. He looked decent at times, and way out of position at others. He made some big saves, but also let in a weak goal. All in all it was a typical Toskala game...and that wont be good enough going down the stretch. With The Monster itching to get between the pipes, Vesa will surely have to pick it up.

And now the real negative part of last night's game. The D.
With all the hype around this new D that Burke has brought in, great things were expected, but in now way were great things delivered. Komisarek took way too many penalties (in the box for 2 of the goals against). Beauchemin was often caught pinching way too deep, and was out hustled getting back to our zone. White was...well...he looked like White from 2 seasons ago. Out of place, coughed up the puck, chasing the forwards into the corners leaving the front WIDE OOOOPPPEEENN! Schenn looked nervous and unsure of himself. Too many times I saw both D men together with the puck (see the pic)...why aren't they playing their positions???

It's only 1 game and we did walk away with a point, but without some great work by Price, I think we could have had both points even with all the bad D play.

And that's why I am still happy about the game...We will get better on D...but the Habs will still be short...
ha ha ha

(like I'm one to talk)


The new comeback kids

Steve says,

well, we started off good...
then it got sloppy...
then it got even more sloppy,
then we started kicking the snot out of people,
then they started taking penalties,
then we scored 3 unanswered goals for the win.

and what a clutch save by Toskala in OT...makes up for some of the sloppy play I mentioned earlier...

and a sweet goal by Hagman, using the D man as a screen...smart move.

nice to have a winning record for now...

these guys are fun to watch even when losing...

Kaberle and Beauchemin look great together ...lots of communication...nice to see a good tandem on our blue line...

Oh...and in case you've been living under a rock...we got Kessel!


Behind the Draft

On Monday Sept 28 @ 6pm, Leafs TV is showing some behind the scenes footage of the latest Draft in Montreal...here is a quick preview...should be interesting




Steve says:

This will be the Leafs this season...

We may not win Lord Stanley, but you will know when you have played Toronto because the whole bus ride home you will have ice packs on everything.

In the first preseason game the new look Leafs came out with something to prove. Many of our "1st liners" were not in the lineup which was expected but we looked solid defensively which is something I have not been able to say for a looooong time.

Toskala played a great game, very aggressive on the PK with the puck which I loved.
Beauchemin was pretty solid on the blue line which is such a nice change to have.
Stalberg and Bozak looked good out there, and Kadri improved as the games went on which was nice.

White actually looked a bit shaky which was surprising considering he was one of the more steady guys at the end of last season.

Joey Mac took over for Toskala half way through the game which is never easy, and he looked a little loose...I'd like to see what he can do when starting a game..

even though they lost, the boys in Blue and White looked good...games will be a lot of fun to watch this year.


T.O. says no...over and over again

Steve says:

So it has come to light that T.O. does not want hockey in Hamilton...no big shock right? But it has never really been said outright...there have been hints towards this thought, and veiled references to a mysterious "VETO" owned by the Leafs but nobody has come out and said NO.

or have they?

In an open letter to Jim Balsille, Gabe Macaluso, the former CEO of Copps Colesium in Hamilton points out numerous occasions in which he was told by MLSE and others that any attempt to relocate or start an NHL franchise in Hamilton would be met with considerable resistance.

to read the letter, click here
VEsa TOskala...coincidence? I think not!


Andrew Engelage invited to Leafs Rookie Camp

check this goalie out...from the Windsor Spits
a quick video of him in action -> 2 big saves in OT
he has decent #'s
what do you think of him?
He's got the Championship Ring...he is a proven winner...we are heading in the right direction...

edit: Sept 10, 2009 update...Engelage did not look good at all....shades of Raycroft...sigh




No other teams can be in Southern Ontario, other than the Maple Leafs.

If there is any doubt about relocation rules, please refer to MLSE for further clarification.

Jim...you are screwed...

I wonder if Gary owns a Blackberry...and could Jim revoke his right to use it?



Gary disses Jim !

well...only sort of in a roundabout way...but he points out the fact that the Govenors rejected Jim's bid based (mainly it would appear) on the section that says "the league can reject potential owners if it does not believe they are of "good character and integrity," as well as for financial reasons."

ohhh SNAP!

Maple Leafs July 2009 Development Camp

Steve says:

Here is a short video from the Maple Leafs July 2009 Development Camp. I wish they would post more of this stuff...hopefully they will through the summer to keep us going through the "dry season".


Can we get Howard Berger fired?

Steve says:

Now before you say "that's crazy talk", hear me out.

We know Howie's rants against anything blue and white and we have read them like blind sheep...and therein lies the problem.

We keep reading his garbage spewing.

The only reason that guy still has his job, is that he writes material which causes Leaf fans to rise up in anger and respond.
but what if we stopped?

What if we banded together and asked our fellow Leafers to follow suit and instead, write a daily email to his various employers (fan590, hockeybuzz, etc) and let them know that they will not have the support of Leaf Nation until he is removed.

Again, I know it sounds like crazy talk...trust me ...I know it sounds like another rambling anti-Berger rant...and yet....think about it...
what if....
what if we ended up with a writer who was actually able to write an objective piece, with actual insight and discussions from the players, coaches, and management.

Can you even imagine what such a thing of beauty might look like?



Chris says:

Want Jonas Gustavsson?

Well he comes with a bit of a price tag. And that price tag's name is Swedish captain Rikard Wallin, who just happens to be friends with Gustavsson.

One theory making the rounds is that the Leafs offered Wallin a contract in the hopes of enticing the Monster to join his teammate in Toronto.

Wallin has played in the NHL before, doing a stint with the Minnesota Wild before hightailing it back across the ocean (but in all fairness, wouldn't you do the same?).

His stats from that time aren't overly impressive, although he has been doing some good things of late in Sweden. But in my mind he's not the goal scorer the Leafs need to really start competing in the NHL.

What do you think Leaf fans, is Wallin an upgrade? Or is he just extra baggage from the Gustavvson signing?

Steve Says:

He's an upgrade without a doubt.

Wallin only played 19 NHL games...in those 19 games he got 10 points...
of those 10 points, 6 were goals...
those 6 goals were scored on a total of 17 shots.

not a bad ratio I would say...

In the SEL, he led his team as the Captain 2 years in a row...last year they won the championship.
He is well know in Sweden as being an incredible 2 way player who wins the majority of his face offs.

The Farjestad fans are not happy at all about losing him to the Leafs...this alone is a good sign.
Also, since this is a 1 year deal, it is a free test run...if he turns out to be a bust, we cut ties and are no worse for wear....but, should he turn out to be the next Pahlsson (as many in Sweden are comparing him) then, well...Burkie...you are the man!


The return of the Fan First Coca-Cola free game

Steve says:

If you are in Toronto on Friday July 10th, 2009...could you please grab me a pair of tickets to the Fan First Leaf game?
They are giving them out for free....watch mapleleafs.com to find out where to go....


Burke's rating System

Steve says:

I found this interesting read...it gives a glimpse into how Burke rates his defencemen:

"I have a system of rating players, "he said, "particularly defensemen. I rate them from one to six…six being the elite defenseman." He went on to explain that his objective is that of the six primary defensive positions on his team, he wants one from each point category. He claims that if you have one "six," one "five," one "four," etc., you'll have a team capable of competing at the highest level. If you add the numbers together (6+5+4+3+2+1) you wind up with 21 and that is your objective. "Now understand," Burke continued, "there aren't enough ‘sixes' to go around, but that's okay. If I have two ‘fives' and two ‘twos' I still get where I want to be (21)." He went on to explain that, the way he had it figured, he couldn't have too many defensemen, since he could almost always trade the excess for a forward and usually one with tangible skill. And generally speaking, history has shown he's right. Having an excess on the blue line is approximately the same as having an excess of pitchers in baseball. It doesn't happen often, but if you achieve it, you can always fill any other hole that might materialize.

So, with that in mind, what does the Leafs D add up to?
Is Kaberle a 5?
What # is Schenn?

Chris says:

Schenn is a 5, with the potential to be a 6. He needs a little more seasoning under his belt in order to reach elite status.

Pot shots

Chris says:

Hey, maybe you’ve met our 2009 – 2010 Maple Leafs. I wouldn’t say they’re knuckle draggers, but I’d hate to bump into them in a dark alley.

Burke has some ideas on what’s next for the Leafs, including the idea of trading some of that muscle for a player with a knack for scoring. Kaberle perhaps?

Also, Jonas Gustavasson is officially a Toronto Maple Leaf. I’d call that a step in the right direction.

The Kaberle Debate

Steve says:

So with all the new additions to the Leafs, the big question now is: What to do with Kaberle?

He's a good puck moving D man with a good cap hit, and is signed on for 2 more seasons. That makes him very attractive to a lot of teams...but for that reason, should he not also be attractive to the Leafs?

Kaberle has said on many occasions that he likes to play in Toronto. Now, media training aside, I believe that to be the truth. Not sure why I think that...it must be something about the way he carries himself during interviews, etc. He seems to be the kind of guy that likes to stay put. He has been here for a while now and has probably laid down some pretty deep roots in Toronto. He knows his role on the team and executes it quite well. He is dependable in his position and well liked by management, and the fans. He makes a good living playing hockey...why leave and risk all of that?

Now the flipside to this discussion is that last season, Kabs had an average season. It wasn't great, but it also wasn't terrible. If he were to have a repeat performance this season, his stock would likely lower. But does that mean that we should cut bait and get a trade for him while the iron is hot? Or do we sit back and look at the team and decide if we are better with him or without him.

There are options for the Leafs with regards to the logjam at the blueline. White played a part of last season as a forward, and was actually pretty good up there. Could he (would he) move back up to the front lines and maybe provide some defensive minded offense?
What other options are there? Could we move the Finger contract? He played a solid season, but now it seems ridiculous to spend that much money on a 5/6 Dman...


The Future

As we near the end of another season I feel the need to point out some highlights.

Starting with our future...Christian Hanson is already a welcome new addition, and Tyler Bozak will come in next training camp and prove all the drafters of past years wrong...I hope...

Poni had a great season even though we traded Antropov away. Grabovski broke the 20 goal mark in his rookie season. Kulemin has shown major progress towards his development to the North American ice surfaces. His forecheck has become a major part of his game. Hagman has scored 20 goals even though he missed 20 games due to injuries. I hope he can remain healthy next season as he is a major workhorse on every shift. Blake had a much improved season. He and Moore had some great chemistry before Burke traded Moore away...and how could he not...Moore was asking for the moon...nice try Dom...Burke is not JFJ. Blake looks like he is having fun on the Leafs team this year...and I think it has a lot to do with the change in the room. All the players who felt they had "the right" to be Leafs are gone. What's left are a group of youngsters competing for jobs with a few good vets in place for leadership. Toskala had a terrible season that he put down to injury...but with his surgery this summer, he should be 100% next season...let's hope for the best.

Whatever happens over the summer will surely make the Leafs even more dangerous next season. No one is expecting the Leafs to compete next season again. They are expected to continue the rebuild. And so they might...but I see the competitive fires burning in Burke...and I think we will pick up a FA and maybe even another big college guy before long (Gilroy?).

It's a no lose situation...which is great...Leaf games have been very entertaining for just that reason....and we'll get 82+ more next season.

Go Leafs!


and so continues the downward spiral

The Leafs are now 4 games under .500 for the first time this season. And while we played a hard physical game and had some pretty good chances, we just couldn't slow down the...Flyers?!?
Wait...weren't they in last place just last season...wtf?!

Poni's goal between the legs was a lone highlight...

The next few games should be interesting as Kulemin will be back in the lineup without Grabovski...some extra ice time will hopefully help him out...he is doing well for a rookie, but I think even more is expected of him.

ps. I love that Grabovski hates the Habs so much...finally, a rivalry with some teeth.


The Leafs grow a pair

yes...they lost...bad...but we finally grew a pair and kicked some Hab ass...and it's about time!

Brad May joined the ranks and basically became a steamroller knocking over anyone with a Ch on their chest last night...

and little Grabovski continued his feud with the brothers Kostitsyn...and in a brilliant moment of clarity...he gave a double F-U to the entire crowd at the Bell centre!..wow!

When asked about the rivalry he stated :

"If he wants to fight, we'll go in the street and every minute of every day I'll wait for him and we'll fight."

That's what I'm talkin about!

a side note about the Brad May trade...he was traded for a conditional 6th round pick...a lot of people were all up in arms about this saying that Burke is trading away our future for a goon...well..now we know the "conditions" of the pick...and they make Burke look like a genius.

The conditions are that the Leafs will have to give the Ducks the 6th rd pick IF May resigns with us before July 1st of 2009. That means that if he doesn't resign, or resigns AFTER July 1st (ie. July 2nd) then we got him for this season for free!

Not bad Burkie...bring in some muscle and leadership and get it for free.

JFJ would have given May 3.5 mill and a no movement...and then would have sent the Ducks our next 2 1st rounders...lol


the percentages

So far this season, the Leafs have the following record
which equates to
41% win, 44% loss, 15% OT loss

you need on average 93 points to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.that means the Leafs would need to go 27-15-1 for the remainder of the season (or some combination like that which totals 93 points).
Which would mean they would need to turn it around to
63% win, 35% loss, 2% OT loss

that's a big turnaround!

But does it start tonight? With the return of McCabe, and Schenn, will the boys in Blue and White take charge of their own futures and force BB to pickup some players who might give us that extra push to make the playoffs?
Or will he trade away the present for the future?

Players like Chris Didimenico will soon be joining Schenn wearing the Maple Leaf. Chris was just traded today to a QMJHL team...one day after winning Gold for his country where he played a very impressive game along the boards. For someone as small as he is (like I'm one to talk) he played a very strong game in the corners and was a big part of many of Canada's scoring chances.

Will Burke send Antropov out West to join Sundin in exchange for even more picks...or maybe assets that will help him move up in the draft should we falter in the 2nd half of the season.

If we were able to move Antropov, Kaberle, Blake, Toskala...would that be enough to get both Tavres AND Hedman?
Do we want Hedman? His play at the Juniors was...well...meh.
Do we want Brayden Schenn?

I think the big fun will all start in Feb. After Burke waits out his current roster to see if they are going to make a go of it.

Oh...and...BOOYAH! take that Ottawa!...Even after Spezza speared Moore, we still kicked your asses!


Happy New Year!

Steve says:

Happy New Years bitches!

A great game for Canada vs USA. ...a great end to 2008 as the Leafs win in OT on a sweet shot by Kubina.

but 2009 brings us back to earth as the Sabres show us why they are in contention for a playoff spot right now, and we need to work harder to get there.
I don't know if the team was hungover...but that was one of the handful of performances  by the Leafs that just didn't cut it.
Even when they have lost this year, it's been OK for the most part because they still tried right to the end...but not on Jan1 of 2009....I think the champagne hangovers  set in around the 2nd period.

I imagine Burke has made a New Years resolution to build a Cup contender...let's hope he keeps his promise.