Friday, October 31, 2008
Dear Most Valuable Losers:
Yesterday, continuing a long-standing trend, another Toronto reporter took a cheap shot at Leaf fans (screenshots: one two). This time it was Howard Berger who called us "losers" but we've seem the same cookie-cutter article from virtually everyone who covers the team.
Quite frankly, we've had enough.
As fans, we believe that those most deserving of our praise and our scorn are directly involved in the game, whether it's on the ice, in the press box or in the executive corridors. Fans don't pencil in the starting five, make bad trades, or write the headlines of the day and shouldn't be blamed (or praised) for the totals in the wins and loss column.
Hockey may be just a game but it's also a passion. If you're looking for passionate hockey coverage that offers insight and humour and you're sick of being blamed for supporting a team you're passionate about, you have a better option.
It's time to leave the media superstars behind. There's compelling, timely, wide-ranging content waiting just for you online in the Barilkosphere.
Many have found this better way of following the Leafs, but not every Leafs fan has been so lucky. Please send this message to your fellow Leaf fans via e-mail or postings on message boards and let them know that they do have a choice.
We hope you'll join us here in the Barilkosphere and become regular readers.
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- Big Smoke Sports
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- He Score, He Shoot!
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- Old Guys in Blue and White
- The Passion That Frustrates Us All
- Repressed Optimism
- Sports and the City
- Toronto Sports Media
- Wonderful World of Loser Domi
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Zach Parise said this about the Leafs:
"Coach told us that this will be the hardest working team we've faced so far this season."
I just checked the entire internet and nope, nobody has ever said the same thing about the Sens.
7:30pm. TSN. Enjoy the game.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Colaiacovo, Frogren and White won't be stopping anybody, as they're scratched for tonight's game. Maybe Dallas need a d-man or two since they lead the NHL in fishing pucks out of their own net. Somebody give Fletcher's cell phone to Brett Hull, and fast.
Where stopping goals hasn't been the Leafs problem in the last week, the PP has. Will Wilson's new powerplay strategy help?
Tune in to find out. 7:30pm puck drop.
Monday, October 27, 2008
What have I been doing? Oh, just talking to my new BFF Pat Quinn. Here's a sneak peek:
"It's important for Luke to be aware that the Toronto market is super competitive. You have guys that see sports coverage as entertainment and think that they are the story. There are guys that don't care about the facts and a lot of the criticism is disingenuous. This environment means that a lot of time the coverage in Toronto is not fair."Read the rest here.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
There is no logic to this of course, based on what I've seen in seven pretty ragged games so far. It's just the thought of the Leafs being ahead of us in the standings that is so upsetting to all that is right and orderly in the universe - I close my eyes, shake my head and think surely this aberration will correct itself sooner or later.
To take us back to the last time the playoffs bypassed Ontario entirely would get you to 1991-1992, when a certain Kanata-based club was still in the womb (for the last time the Leafs were in and the Sens on the outs, you'd need to rewind to 1995-1996, the era of Dave Allison, Mike Bales, Stan Neckar and Bob Dole). The simple fact of the matter is that the Sens are two points back of the Leafs, tied for 14th with the Lightning and Flyers and only a single point ahead of the last place Islanders (who have a game in hand). Sens have scored five more goals than the Leafs and maintain a GF-GA of -2 compared to the Leafs -8. The mismatch between Ottawa offense and Toronto defense has produced some pitiful beat downs in the past several years, but Ottawa's average scoring pace is depreciating rapidly since 2005-2006, in an opposite slope to the GA/gm plot:
The power play now appears to be Ottawa's best hope, as they are now the second worst 5v5 team in the league. Leaf penalty killers will have their work cut out for them.
With regards to this evening's Battle, recall that last year things were so close it took a single goal in the final game of the season series to break the tie in the Battle (4 wins apiece). Will the tables finally turn this season? Did Axl finally make good on his promise to rock the 21st century? Well, like I say "It's Still Early" to make that call.
Sens 5, Leafs 4 (SO): Heatley x2, Kelly, Kuba. Ruutu instructs Toskala on the art of the shootout. To set the stage, and to remind you that 1991-1992 wasn't all bad it's about time for everyone to GET IN THE RING.
Our last Battle GDT had 229 comments. That's right, that's how we roll around here.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Erin, don't be hard on the Senators rough start - they're a young group ya know!
I'm not sure exactly. Although, Sens fans tend to go into hiding when the Sens are losing. Even more so when the Leafs are winning.
You have a point. And since Ottawa are 1. Below Toronto in the standings and 2. Facing yet another back-up goaltender, well, this eliminates two of three most popular topics around here for them.
Ha ha. You have them there. Wait, what's the third one?
That whole 1967 thing.
Of course. Well they have us there.
Ya. They do. Anyway, onto the game tonight, it could be an interesting one. Two struggling teams that met in the finals a few years ago trying to get things on track. Maybe it will get rough?
Speaking of which, did Scott Niedermayer ever exact revenge on Afraidsson for shooting the puck at him in the playoffs?
You know, I have no idea?? Maybe ask a Sens fan. I'm sure there will be one or two around tonight.
If they're winning...
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Here are some of the teams allegedly interested in his services and their available cap space (source nhlnumbers.com).
Murray has made enough stupid trades to get band-aid help part way through the last two seasons. Could this be his next? Mats may take a pay cut but to expect him to play for $3M is a stretch, especially for a team with no hope of a Cup. Ottawa would have to subtract from the roster once again.
If Mats was going to take a major pay cut this might be the team to do it for. Not this much though. Detroit would have to make room. They have quality players to move more than most teams.
NEW YORK RANGERS: $969,000
Same deal as Detroit, only less cap space. We're talking a major trade or buy-out to make room here. Hard to imagine them messing that much with a good thing, but if they want to compete with Detroit... I actually think this is the team Mats will sign with.
TAMPA BAY: $2.6M
They could swing a small deals and get the cap room, but is another forward what Tampa really needs? From Mats perspective, what would be the motivation to go there? Can't see this happening at all.
They have the room. They want him. But they suck. At least so far. I like Ohlund as much as the next guy, but this is not a defence that wins cups. It's clearly not just about the cash or Mats would be there playing right now.
Like most teams fishing for Sundin, they don't have the bait. This one would make no sense to me at all.
I know they took themselves out of the running and picked up Robert Lang, but Lang makes $4M so if they really still want Sundin they could move that money somewhere. Doubtful, but you never know with Gainey.
We have the money. This is his home. He's still the captain. Say what you will about all that, I just don't see why the Leafs would pay $6-$7M for what will essentially be a rental player for the rest of the season. If the Leafs goal this season is to break this team down and build it back up and hopefully catch a top 3 draft pick for our trouble, than stick to it. I actually think he'll play in Ottawa before here if Ron Wilson has any say.
Here are some other teams and their cap space...
DALLAS/$4.5M, COLORADO/$5.7M, PITTSBURGH/$100K, SAN JOSE/$600K...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The Cats have never had much luck in Kanata and even with Gerber spotting them the first shot, I'm still comfortable enough with a 3-2 Sens win (Fisher, Picard, Winchester).
On the bright side, your dream of owning the Leafs may never come true but you could dump your Kanata club and buy the next Toronto NHL team. Could there be a more bullet-proof investment in all of sports? No Government bail outs necessary here...
Speaking of shame, the Ducks didn't record one shot in regulation after the 7:40 mark of the second period last night. No shots for well over the last half of the game. I don't know whether to be proud of the Leafs or sick in my stomach that Brian Burke will be our GM in a few months.
Damien Cox wouldn't piss on MLSE if it was on fire, but Ron is apparently his guy. Sens fans will especially like the part about Sundin. Again.
The Leafs have only 5 points on the season and there are plenty of underachieving teams below us in the standings, which means the Tavares hunt is alive and well. Which begs the question, was Ron Wilson looking for an edge last night by putting an ice cold Joseph in for the shootout, or did he read this line in the paper yesterday afternoon:
JOHN TAVARES 13GP - 14G 9A 23PTS
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tonight we'll see the Leafs new #1 line that will feature none other than John Mitchell at center, flanked by Antropov and Blake.
Oh dear lord.
No knock on Mitchell, he's big and fast and is known for his playmaking abilities and work ethic, but he's spent a whole 5 games in the NHL and that was playing wing. On the fourth line. He has one assist to show for his troubles.
Last season with the Marlies he collected 56 points in 79 regular season games, but turned heads with an impressive playoffs, leading the team with 8 goals and 12 points in 19 games.
IN OTHER NEWS: The realism of EA sports is astonishing. In my first NHL '09 season on XBox since buying the game last week, my Leafs are a pathetic 3-8. My only win since splitting the first two games of the regular season? A 4-2 win against the Sens in the very game we will see this Sat night. Lets hope there's something prophetic in my game console...
Monday, October 20, 2008
[link via Everyone]
Splitting up Spezza and Heatley?
Sez the coach: "There is no excuse why that will not work"
In other unresolved issues, why wouldn't Hartsburg start Auld in the second of back-to-back games against his old team? Farking Gerber responded to the nod by letting the game's first shot in yet again.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Will it decide who sits in 13th place?
Stay tuned folks. Stay tuned.
I find it very satisfying that after all this talk of back-up goaltenders, Manny Fernandez gets me 5 points in my office pool.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Is this the long welcomed Hartsburg course change? Considering those three were regularly pushing 25 minutes a night last season, it's definitely worth looking forward to.
Games in progress tonight: Sens are in tough 3-1 (oops 3-2) to the Bruins and Leafs are down 2-1 in Pittsburgh.
Friday, October 17, 2008
-the dead zone between playoff and regular season games.
-the development of a defensive conscience in our number one centres.
-the arrival of a bonafide, honest-to-gawd, indisputable, let him cradle your newborn, Number 1 Goaltender.
The Sens will look for their first home win of the 2008/09 season as they host the Coyotes tonight at the Bank. It's still early, but at 1-1-1, the Sens have a new defenceman leading their scoring (shades of Norm MacIver?!), a sniper averaging a power play goal per game and a starting goalie with a 3.41 GAA. Tonight, the Alfie knee watch will continue and the boys may be on the receiving end of a few Brian McGrattan knuckle bombs.
Sens 6, Yotes 2 (Spezza, Heatley 2, Fisher, Neil, Lee). Wayne makes lots of funny faces on the bench.
Post your predictions, smack talk and interpretations of Metallica's career arc in the thread below.
TONIGHT: Toronto visit the Rangers while Phoenix make a rare visit to Kanata. A long layoff and no Afraidsson will surely be the excuses tossed out tomorrow if the Sens can't get it done, while Toronto are expected to lose so no excuses necessary.
Frogren and Stajan are back in while the Rangers will save Lundquist for Detroit tomorrow, meaning the Leafs as expected will be taken lighly by opposition playing two in two. No shock there.
At this time I'm not sure who Phoenix will start since they'll be in Montreal tomorrow. If I was Wayne I would play Bryz tonight and hope with all your guns you get the easier win nailed down and then hope for a Habs meltdown.
GAME DAY SONG for all your patience this week, none other than "Waiting Room" by one of my all time faves FUGAZI. This is a weird one.
A fast start to the season builds in a cushion so that when the inevitable ebb and flow of the year eventually catches up to a team, there is perspective. There is calm. There is no panic.
Or it hides major issues that should be dealt with before Christmas before its way, way too late.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
In goals allowed.
I just wish the NHL would give goaltenders the same respect they give skaters when it comes to powerplay goals. It doesn't affect your +/- if your a D-man or left winger, but if you're a goaltender it gets slapped right on your GAA and SV%. Toskala deserves better, he's been fantastic 5 on 5.
Ottawa are in 8th with three very good teams behind them in the standings. Could be a hell of a finish for 10th spot this year.
The Rangers lose Chepepanov in tragic fashion, but keep on winning. Today news breaks that Sundin has been working out harder and is on his way to Toronto. One could assume he's here to sell his house and move to Manhattan?
Friday, October 10, 2008
Here's how the rest might shake out:
Kelly / Vermette / Winchester
Schubert / Fisher (?) / Neil
Foligno / McAmmond / Donovan
Recall that third line put in a tremendous game last time the Wings were in town, setting the physical tone for what turned out to be the highlight of the season.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Good to see the kid stick it out even if it's only for 9 games. As far as Bell, he brought this on himself. I'll be the first to say I thought he had more to offer.
UPDATE: Toronto today waived Devereux. They also waived Kronwall. Hey Murray, this guy would be a 4th d-man on Ottawa if you hurry up!
Sunday, October 05, 2008
It was an interesting camp. Here's who I thought stood out for all the right and mostly wrong reasons.
HAGMAN: This guy exceeded my expectations. He's fast as hell, has great instincts, is defensively sound and I bet he pots 30 goals this year. Him and Grabovski have really clicked.
GRABOVSKI: When the Leafs paid a 2nd rounder for this guy I was worried. Why would Montreal let a talent as significant as Fletcher and co were calling him to get away? Now that I've seen him try to drive the net through three players, all with 40 stiches in his face, I'm no longer concerned. It's refreshing to have a player with a one track mind to PUT PUCK IN NET. He's everything Kyle Wellwood, unfortunately, isn't.
SCHENN: Much will be said about him between now and the season starting. I've flopped back and forth on this a few times myself. One thing is for certain. No matter where he plays this season the Leafs have struck gold.
PONIKOROVSKY: He missed two wide open nets last night. He's always missing the goddamn net. I think it's time the Leafs had one less 3rd liner on the team. Anybody else?
FINGER: He only played one game but he led the team with 5 blocked shots in that game. Him and Kubina will ad a lot of toughness on the blue line once they're back.
TLUSTY: I think he's had an amazing camp. He's doing a lot of the dirty work on the line with Grabs and Hagman, and is showing real patience with the puck. No pictures of his penis lately either.
JOSEPH: Why is it I expect a goal anytime he faces a shot? Why is it he's allowed 10 goals in two games against partial NHL rosters? This is worrisome.
FROGREN: When he's a Marlie, be sure and get game tickets for you and the family. Very affordable.
BELL: I thought he would come out flying. I was wrong. He better do something if it isn't already too late.
MAYERS: Is that it? I was expecting a little more physical presence. Being the 2nd oldest guy on the team, maybe he's saving himself for the games that matter?
WHITE: Switches from D to F to end camp and was impressive. Unlike Bell, you get the sense that White knows he's close to losing his job and unlike Bell he's doing everything he can to save it. You have to admire him. A little.
Enjoy the game.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Make note of the opening day lineup, things will change rapidly as Craig Hartsburg attempts to fend off the onset of Paddockitis.
Scoring 1: Heatley ("A") / Spezza / Alfie ("C")
Scoring 2: Vermette / Kelly / Winchester
Energy/Pain: Ruutu / Foligno / Neil
Checking: McAmmond / Bass / Schubert
Offensive Support: Kuba / Smith
Shut Down: Phillips ("A") / Volchenkov
Third Pair: Picard / Lee
Let's open it up with a 5-3 Sens victory (Alfie x2, Heatley, Ruutu, Kuba). Alfie returns home a Senator for life, the Pens reach for the Chaser as the hangover sets in.
We have no pump up music today, in silent protest against the CBC selling out the Hockey Night theme song. However, I do have some exclusive footage of Alfie heading to the morning skate*
*Warning: Alfie is Jesus. Do not attempt if you are not Alfie.
Friday, October 03, 2008
I mean, I'm certainly not a guy that's into that kind of stuff.
Sure Wade. The rest is classic Pinocchio (allegedly) stuff and throwing Emery under the bus with his "well, I didn't see him do anything..." answer.
Season starts tomorrow! WOOO-HOOOO!!!!
Thursday, October 02, 2008
"He really turned it up for the playoffs," said Fredrik Jonsson, an official with the Indians. "He made Frolunda one of the best club teams in the world.
"That was my first year here and I thought every year was going to be like that."
Dean Brown is also along for the tour and remarks that "we could have been on a trip to Sudbury".
Take that, Fodor's!
Meanwhile, Sens first round pick Erik Karlsson brings the smack:
"It's a game for the fans and we will do almost anything to win, then we can say we beat Ottawa, we beat an NHL team"
To get everyone else fired up, here's a lovely tribute to Swedish Death Metal: