Monday, May 31, 2010

At least Murray knows he'll have a job after Ottawa...

Leafs sign yet another assistant GM in Claude Loiselle.

He was apparently up for the Lightning GM job but as we all know lost out to Yzerman.

Word is he will come in as the salary cap expert and do most of the contract writing for the team, joining Nonis, Poulin and Fletcher as assistants to Burke.

I mean, I'll applaud any additions to the Leafs who make us better, so long as those $18 beers don't become $19 beers. But it's kind of crazy to have this many heads at the table. How will they ever agree on anything?

2010/2011 Schedule Highlights.

We're still waiting for the full upcoming schedule, but the NHL announced some key events and it would appear the Sens and Leafs will partake in a few.

On September 28, Dundas, Ontario will host a pre-season game between the Senators and Sabres.

This launches the NHL season in North America (6 teams are opening the season in Europe), and it will take place in Toronto with all-day celebrations and festivities. Then the Leafs and Habs will play at 7pm followed by a Flames-Oilers tilt for the late CBC offering.

Toronto will play either the Sabres or Blackhawks. Lets hope it's the Hawks. Buffalo do my head in.

Best day in the schedule opens with Sens facing the Oil in Edmonton for the 2pm game and then Leafs vs Habs at 7pm followed by the Flames and Vancouver in that time slot where you're already far too drunk.

Will start April 13th next year. This will also be the day when THM and I will financially settle our bets. Be nice to THM that day please, he will be in a bad mood.

Happy Monday

Friday, May 28, 2010

What the F#@%???

Reports coming in that Habs and Flames and Penguins and Caps will play the TWO Winter Classic games.

So let me get this straight, the Habs get their 2nd outdoor game and Ottawa/Toronto/Vancouver haven't even played in their first?

I'm saying it. This is horse shit.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Look who's climbed up to #6

If you put any stock into the Hockey's Future Organizational Rankings, the Leafs have made quite the climb when it comes to prospects in the system.

Ottawa are still down in 21st place, close to where the Leafs were a year ago.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Breaking Big Time BoO hockey news!!!!!

Ok, I lie.

The Sens have signed Mike Brodeur to a one year 2-way contract and for the Leafs Wallin will be returning to Sweden, joined by Jonus Frogren.

Sorry if I got you excited.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Winnipeg vs Kansas City?

Gary Bettman chose yesterday to announce that the City of Glendale have until December 31st to find a buyer or else the NHL will sell the Yotes to an owner who will have free reign to move the pulverized franchise elsewhere.

Since we needed last night and most of today to celebrate the end of the Habs stupid playoff (like it should have 3 weeks ago), this Bettman thing kind of sparked my post-lunch interest.

As always, Winnipeg is back on the radar as the country collectively rubs our hands together in anticipation of a 7th Canadian team. We OBVIOUSLY assume that a Canadian city is the best place for the Coyotes and the choice is a no-brainer right? Hey, nobody will ever argue that hockey is more important in Canada than it is in Kansas City or Las Vegas (who are also rumoured destinations), but the fact remains that Winnipeg is a hockey town that already lost an NHL franchise and still has only 680,000 or so folks to draw on for seat fillers and to lure TV contracts - and that includes the greater Winnipeg area (according to 2006 census).

Meanwhile both KC and Las Vegas have closer to 2 million in their greater areas. And while basic population numbers is not everything (how many of those people will care about hockey right?), Las Vegas has a giant retiree population and is growing substantially with families and lets not look past the draw of the desert for poker-loving NHL players. It's also a wealthy city and has all kinds of draw for those who want to make an NHL game part of a bigger night on the town. Think of the Canadians on stag nights in Vegas all winter. You could fill half the seats with them alone.

Kansas City is even a bigger threat to the 'Peg if you ask me because unlike Las Vegas there is a history of professional hockey in KC along with other pro sports. Just like Winnipeg, the Missouri capital also lost an NHL franchise (The Scouts who left for Colorado) as well as an NBA team (now the Sacramento Kings), but this was 30+ years ago. Perhaps things have changed. They have a very stable NFL team (attendance-wise), an MLS team along with strong college and high school sports team followings. KC is also a good location for flight paths in either conference and I understand they already have a modern Arena ready to go. Plus, they want a team.

My vote is still with Winnipeg, but if you were the guy on the hook financially for the business side of this ordeal, you would have to at least weight these other places seriously. They both have bigger upside if it could ever be realized.

Of course in the coming months we'll beat this dead horse (and really, lets be honest, June through August is an ideal time to talk about this issue as actual hockey news quiets to a barely audible hum), a conversation that will be shared with Hamilton and Quebec too, but I think this time around I will try and see this thing as more than a "lets get a team in Canada" issue because for the health of the league there may actually be other very good options for the Coyotes who are almost certainly on the move.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is it bad if I kind of agree with the IIHF on this one?

Read the story here.

Would you or wouldn't you?

Inspired from a conversation with Anshu in another thread talking about the quick rebuild Philadelphia did a few years back, I have a question:

Does anybody think Murray should at least consider trying to refresh this roster this draft day and through the summer? This is a team that hasn't won a playoff series in three years, after all.

Lets face it, Danielle isn't getting any younger, Spezza seems to be falling short of expectations and Ottawa do indeed have some very attractive pieces for any team with cup aspirations (Fisher, Phillips, etc). That's a group of players who really could get Ottawa younger and cheaper in a hurry (if the deals are there to make of course) and it would give Murray some cap space to go out and get some players he might covet (Kovulchuk?), while adding some cost efficient young players to go along with Michalek and Karlsson and Cowen. Ottawa could be vastly different in a very short period of time.

I for one would do it. Ottawa had a real nice stretch in the regular season (was it 11 wins in a row), but otherwise they were a very average team. In fact had they went 7-4 over that 11-0 stretch, they would have missed the playoffs. How represented by their record are Ottawa, really? How confident are Sens fans that bringing back essentially the same team is the way to go?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Get used to it.

The Monster took down Canada yesterday at the Worlds (booooo) but for Leaf fans it's pleasing that he's sporting a .954% and a 1.67GAA and withstood almost 13 minutes of Canada in the Swedish zone in the 3rd period.

Gunnarson with 2 points and best +/- on Sweden.
Kulemin with 4 points and +4.

The kids are doing pretty well.

You know who isn't doing well? Montreal. What a beating. I actually stopped watching at 3-0. It would appear that the Habs choice of signing only midget's as top 6 forwards has hit its wall.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WHC BoO Update

I was just saying in a reply to DC that I'm not all that fussed about the tourney, but what I AM is not that busy this week at the office.

So... here's a quick update of what the BoO players have been doing:

Gustavsson: 1-0 in net for Sweden.
Gunnarson:1 goal, +2.
Beauchemin: 0 points, leads Canada in ice time.
Kulemin: 2 assists for Russia (playing 15 minutes a game).
Grabovski:1 assist for Belarus.
Hanson: 0 pts +1 for USA.

As for Senator players, as far as I know Karlsson, Regin and Foligno are playing for their respective countries. If I missed anybody let me know.

Karlsson: 1 goal, +2
Regin: 1G 1A for Denmark and +1.
Foligno: 0 points and even +/-, playing about 15 min a game

All in all, not too bad for either team's players since it's only 2 games in.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

There are a lot of Leaf fans, but come on...

Seriously, this ranks higher in importance than the Flyers/Bruins and the Jays/Red Sox?

I'm embarrassed... although still happy we resigned Nonis.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Here are some teams that Burke might be talking to over the next month or so.

1. LA KINGS: One only has to look at the Leafs depth on defence and the Kings recent draft history to see potential for a Luke Schenn trade to Los Angeles, uniting the brothers as Brayden enters the NHL. One could also see a trade done that would send Brayden to Toronto. What players could be involved? I don't know, what do I look like, someone who has thought this through? I would take Wayne Simmons though.

2. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: The Jackets are probably open to trades to acquire defence. Their top scoring blueliner this season was Anton Stralman and highest paid D-man is Mike Commodore (at 3.75M), so there's room for growth. What makes them a potential trading partner? They have Samuel Pahlsson and Jakub Voracek, both of whome Burke would be interested in. Pahlsson as the Leafs shut down centerman is a no-brainer for Burke, I'm sure. Who goes back? Obviously Kaberle if Voracek is in the deal, but for Pahlsson could Jeff Finger and a prospect do the trick (since Finger makes $1M more than Pahlsson)? Is Scott Howsen (Columbus GM) related to Daryll Sutter by any chance?

These teams each hold two picks in the first round this June. Which means one or all of them could be open to moving one. BOSTON have already tried to trade for Kaberle and there's the added element that they have Toronto's own pick this June. ATLANTA are probably willing to give up picks since the draft hasn't helped them much lately and they wanted roster players for Kovulchuk so how interested in the draft can they be? Nobody would blink if ANAHEIM and Toronto made another deal so they need the least explaining.

4. PHOENIX COYOTES: This will be an interesting summer for GM Don Maloney as he has only three defenceman signed for next season and a whopping $25M or so in cap space (if I've done my math right). While much of that money will have to be spent on forwards, Kaberle could be a potential target and Maloney was the busiest GM at trade deadline so he's not afraid to make a trade. Phoenix also has TWO 1st-round draft picks to use in any deal.

5. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: If Burke and Nonis are serious about getting themselves a 1st round pick the Lightning might be worth calling. They have the #6 overall position, which is smack in between the last two positions the Leafs drafted (Kadri 7th, Schenn 5th). Good omen? Not sure about that, but one would think that after drafting #1 and #2 the last two years perhaps they are willing to trade this years pick. It's not like they've been all that lucky at the draft outside the 1st overall spot anyway. I mean, look at this heinous draft history???

Anyone else got any ideas?

Chris DiDomenico

Next to Nazem Kadri, this is the prospect I'm most excited about.

For those who don't remember, DiDomenico busted his femur a year or so ago and despite some folks saying he may never skate again, he was back to finish the last 12 games of the 2009/2010 season and playoffs for Drummondville of the Q.

In those 12 regular season games he had 22 points.
In 14 playoff games he scored 21 points.

He's not a huge guy at 5'11", but he plays with an edge. You may remember him from the gold-medal winning junior team a few years ago when he enraged team USA by skating by their bench yapping after a Canada goal. He's got personality. To go along with his scoring prowess he's excellent on faceoffs, already known for his defensive play and trained with the Leafs staff for the last year at Mastercard centre adding muscle and strength to his frame.

Brian Burke in his outgoing interview was asked about DiDomenico (I think Berger asked him) said that DiDo missed a whole year and is behind in his development. However all his numbers since the injury have been excellent, and at 20 years old he'll be on the Marlies and as far as I'm concerned will be on the Leafs this season at some point to stay.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

What about Marty Turco?

Lots of talk about offer sheets to Montreal goalies. Got me thinking. What about some of the UFA goalies out there, or the defenceman and forwards available? Both the Leafs and Sens will be actively going after at least some players on this list.

Who do you want?

I could see the Leafs looking at a guy like Tyler Pyatt perhaps? Or Aaron Asham. Frolov?

Back to the Turco thing, do the Sens need a big time UFA goalie or just a solid veteran guy to come in and solidify the position while Leclaire or Elliott decide who is the guy?


Remember when Mikael Grabovski and Sergei Kostitsyn had their feud and everyone was saying Grabovski is trouble in the dressing room and everybody hates him in Montreal and the Leafs were fools for trading for him?

Perhaps it wasn't Grabovski after all?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

In the 3rd round the Leafs select....

This is an article by Mike Ulmer that sheds some light on the draft positions of those players making some of the biggest noise in the NHL playoffs so far.

Read it here.

While the Leafs would love to have Kessel AND their first two draft picks this June, we maybe shouldn't discount what can be harvested from rounds 3 through 7. In other words the Leafs (and everyone else) still have a lot to benefit from the 2010 draft beyond the top ranked picks.


With the 7th overall pick the Maple Leafs select...

The OHL playoffs have wrapped up and what's not surprising is that the Spitfires were victorious with Taylor Hall as the tournaments leading scorer. What is perhaps surprising to everyone except maybe Bryan Murray and Brian Burke, is that Nazem Kadri finished 4th in scoring - only a handful of points behind Hall and yet he played 9 to 11 games less than anybody else around him on the list. He couldn't help his team get out of the 2nd round, in the end, but he certainly made his point - he's outgrown the junior ranks. Now lets hope he's busy right now, as I write this, putting on 15 pounds of Senator hate.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Canucks or Blackhawks?

I have Chicago in my pool going all the way but it would be pretty tough not to cheer for Vancouver to get through to the conference finals in the west. Burke and Nonis still have their fingerprints all over the team, they are of course Canadian and far enough away that no Sens or Leafs fan can honestly dislike them, and they've never won the cup, ever.

Chicago haven't won a cup since 1961 and you have to love how they play and the fans in Chicago most certainly deserve it for coming back to this team and supporting them so strongly. A series between them and Pittsburgh would be a dream series if you ask me, some of the youngest stars in the game fighting it out...

Based on the Sedin's who I can now see why Burke flew to Sweden to try and court had they become UFA's in July 2010, I think Vancouver may get through this series. It would be a great year for Vancouver who have had a lot to cheer about since the beginning of the Olympics.

So much for winning my pool though...