Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mike Tyson Is A Disgrace?

From CFRA's morning webpoll:

Should Ottawa Senator's backup goalie Ray Emery be told (by Sens management) he is a role model to children & should get rid of his helmet saluting disgraced boxer Mike Tyson?

Yes, Ray should be reminded of Tyson's rape and assault convictions and told to lose the mask (75.7%)

No, "Iron" Mike Tyson was a great boxer. The critics are just politically correct.(24.2%)

Total Votes: 1634

What is this, a black thing? Do the kiddies need to be reminded about teammate Dany Heatley's vehicular homicide conviction?

UPDATE: The Mask is gone. Time to go back to talking about his shitty 0.73 save percentage in his last three starts.

Leafs 4 Panthers 2

By The Meatriarchy

9 games later this miserable losing patch finally comes to an end. And with Bryan McCabe returning tonight to face the Lightning one hopes that a win streak is possible before the break.

Ed Belfour finally turns in a vintage performance. Perhaps playing on the same sheet of ice 200 feet away from the man that is rumored to be coming to Toronto to replace him was a motivator?

Defenseman Jay Harrison (recently called up from the Leafs farm team, The Toronto Marlies) had an outstanding game. He not only recorded his first NHL point but saw penalty killing duty as well. Particularly surprising was when Quinn played him during a crucial 2-man disadvantage in the second period.

Say what you like about Quinn, he is not afraid to play the rookies, unlike a certain other Pat who coached here previously.

The Leafs played most of this game a man short as Khavanov went down with an injury that turned out to be a cracked bone in his foot. Scratch him for a while. This resulted in the Leafs playing with only 5 d-man, three of whom are American League call-ups. Perhaps it says much about the Panthers that they couldn't beat a struggling Leafs squad with a minor league defense core?

And perhaps this will stop AM640's Bill Watters from his curiously upbeat assessment of this Florida team. All year he has been touting them as world beaters. I have yet to fathom why. The only players of star caliber they have are Ollie Jokkinen and Roberto Luongo. And Watters hates Luongo.

To add to the fun of breaking the streak last night: The Bruins flattened the Senators 5-0. Boy that Emery kid sure has come back to earth. Better hope Dom doesn't pull a muscle opening the liquor cabinet.

One last thing: the fire sale in St. Louis has obviously set the market for high priced talent. Weight was obtained by the Hurricanes for a first round draft pick and some spare parts. This means that the Leafs should be able to acquire Jackman (whom they have coveted all year) for something less than a roster player. It also means that Allison and Belfour aren’t' going to fetch near as much as optimistic fans had hoped (if indeed they are on the block).

Monday, January 30, 2006

Leafs losing again...

Down 5-0 in the second period to the Bruins.

Wait a second - it's Ottawa?

What the......

UPDATE: Oh - I see. Boston's two points behind the Leafs. Yeah, that must be why Ottawa is playing like Montreal.

UPDATE2: I thought you deserved a reasonable explanation for this debacle.
The only thing I can think of is that the Sens had Weight's locker picked out and had already started dreaming up line combinations when they heard he was dealt to Carolina this afternoon.
That, or some of the players were off their game-day routine with their kids stuck at home since all the buses around Ottawa were cancelled this morning due to freezing rain.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Name that Leaf Fan

Can you guess who this is? It's a fairly famous person.

By The Meatriarchy

Quote of the Day

By The Meatriarchy

From Tie Domi: "You can never doubt guys not trying,"


Juicy Rumour du Jour

By: The Meatriarchy

This one is especially for Damien Cox to give him something to hang onto:

From the Code:

According to my sources who work within the Leafs front office, JFJ has been actively talking with Brent Sutter about becoming the next head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. If a deal is reach with Brent Sutter, the Leafs will fire Pat Quinn.

also in the same post some rumours for the rest of us:

The Habs are trying to package both Kovalev and Theodore. The two most interested teams are the Oilers and the Panthers. Sources also say this could become a three-way deal where the Roberto Luongo could end up with the Leafs.

That would rock.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Let the Streak Continue Sabres 8 Leafs 4

By The Meatriarchy

I fully expect the tide to turn once Tucker and McCabe are safely back in the lineup but part of me would like this slide to continue with Quinn and Ferguson NOT getting fired.


Because it would drive Damian Cox so completely over the edge

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A question

I'm going to the game tonight and am wondering what you would say if I told you that a big part of me wants Montreal to beat Ottawa so that the Habs will pull ahead of the Leafs and sit in 9th spot in the conference?

3 - 0 for the home team with 4 minutes left in the second. The shots are 27 to 6 and they flatter the Habs!

Even more good news - the Leafs are down 4 to 1!

Update2: The morning after
I hope Gainey made those guys walk back to Montreal last night. They managed to tie the record for fewest shots in Habs history and maybe had less hits.

8-4 Sabres!

Of course, I may have wanted Montreal to get points last night but when I was there I was 100% Sens

We need to start seeing some Alfie for MVP signs in the stands!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Rumour du Jour

By The Meatriarchy

From Hockey Leaks:

From a very good source : " The Leafs have acquired defenseman Jamie Rivers from Detroit for a conditional draft pick. This is all pending a physical."
- No media outlets are reporting it yet, though it has been mentioned on Mojo Radio I have been told. Not sure I like this move by the Leafs, as Rivers is no better than Brad Brown, who the Leafs already have.

He also has a couple of more up there (which he says are very speculative) including this one:

"I've been hearing whispers floating around that the Leafs are about to pull the trigger on a deal that would send Shane Doan and Curtis Joseph to Toronto in exchange for Jason Allison, Nik Antropov, Jay Harrison and a 5th rd pick. Another rumour I've heard is Belfour to Edmonton for Steve Staios."


Meanwhile on The Fan this morning Stellick and Landry were musing on the future of Sundin and would he be traded.

My feeling is that Mats could very well be moved if the offer was right. But it would have to be a good offer and not a salary dump.

Update: David Johnson says talk of trading Sundin is pure nonsense.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sens 4 Leafs 3

by The Meatriarchy

No matter how you slice it at the end of the day the Sens walk away with two points. Certainly the effort was better but it was hard to tell if the Leafs played that much better or if the Sens were toying with them. Certainly looked that way when it was 4-1.

Sundin finally played a decent game. When he plays well he is visible and so obviously faster than those around him.

Colaiacovo - that was the scariest thing I have seen in sometime. When he hit the boards head first I thought he had broken his neck.

Domi had a goal and a fight (sorta). But all I could think of as he squared off with Neil was that bald spot on the back of his head that made him look even older.

Wellwood - hell of a move to slice through the Ottawa defense and then score. If he gets more ice time he might just start converting more of these chances. And the rumours say he might just be getting it as various sources say that Jason Allison is the trade bait the Leafs are dangling right now.

Other rumours have Belfour on the block with a variety of goalers coming this way including Joseph or Nabokov. Also Brian Leetch's name has surfaced. I would love to have Leetch back. It would give the Leafs a much better defense core and we are overstocked with natural centers so it makes sense that one would be traded. Barrett Jackman of the Blues is still being mentioned as a possible defenseman the Leafs would be interested in.

Oh and any one who watched the game can agree on one thing: the officiating was atrocious.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Stop Whistling "Sweet Georgia Brown"

The Slaughter of Ontario continues tonight. Was it just me, or for a fleeting moment on Saturday night, did anyone else actually feel the slightest tinge of pity for the blue glitter-wigged pilgrims of Leaf Nation as they shifted in their seats, contemplating the long, cold, joyless drive back to Cobourg or Kingston or Peterborough? While geography condemns me to watching Blues / Canucks instead of Oilers / Flames or New York Nationals Leafs / Sens, I'll flipping around the dial to see how the other territorial battles are shaping up.

Consider this an Election / Hockey Night In Canada open thread. Post political broadsides, suicide hotline requests, personal hygiene issues, etc. as you wish.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Regime Change

By The Meatriarchy

The timing of the upcoming election today (Monday) with the general consensus that the Liberals and Paul Martin will be booted from office (unless the polls are wrong) seems somewhat coincidental what with the Leafs in free fall right now.

How? Well consider that Damian Cox surfaced yesterday to invoke his oft repeated mantra that Pat Quinn should be fired.

For those that don't live in Toronto Cox is a hockey columnist for the Toronto Star and sometimes co-host of The Fan590's evening drive show with Bob McCowan. Damian is an odd choice for a columnist to cover the Leafs considering that he hates the team, hates the coach, hates their management, holds Leaf fans in thinly disguised contempt, and generally seems to dislike the game itself.

Yet is he a very talented writer - his book '67 which he co-wrote with former Leaf GM Gord Stellick is excellent and should be read by any hockey fan. But I digress.

Cox has never ever had a good word to say about Pat Quinn and the latest loss by the Leafs (without their leading goal scorer and leading point getter and top defenseman) has given him ample opportunity to stoke the "Quinn must go" fires.

Tomorrow night, quite clearly, is the most important regular-season game of Quinn's coaching career in Toronto. He doesn't necessarily have to win, although with teams possessing a greater organizational thirst for victory, that would surely be the case. (emphasis mine).

Get the dig? The Leafs as an organization are not committed to winning. If they were they would fire Quinn. So come this evening if the Leafs lose tonight and Quinn isn't fired the organization isn't committed to winning.

But Quinn's Leafs must compete ferociously and must give the high-flying Senators a serious game, a game that cannot be anything like last night's.

So if the team doesn't compete, again a sign that Quinn must go.

The Leafs, however, are that flawed in terms of talent and heart. Their solid first half, which attracted many compliments from here and everywhere despite lousy defensive stats, now seems a mirage based mostly on playing a lot more home games than road contests.

Teams are supposed to have better home records than road records Damian.

I'm surprised that he hasn't mentioned that the ownership is more interested in making money than winning. Wait, I spoke to soon Damian is back today with another delightful column where he touches on his other favorite sore spots with the team. The afore mentioned profit motive and the fact that every player doesn't come out and speak to reporters after a game:

The worst part is these players actually seem to think they're being clever. One or two are assigned the chore of attracting a mob of print and electronic reporters, and that diversion allows a handful of players to slap on their overcoats and bolt for the nearest exit.

Ok here's a newsflash to every one in the sports media. Fans (like me) don't care about what the players say after a game. You know why? Because they don't say anything. Nothing. Their quotes are as meaningless as the platitudes mouthed by politicians during debates but just not as cleverly scripted. Why do you think that I as a reader of your paper or consumer of any other medium is anxious to hear the nonsense these guys say? I just want them to show up and play and entertain me during the process. Stop whining about it. Its getting old. No, it got old ten years ago.

And no column by Damian would be complete without genuflection at the altar of his favorite GM Lou Lamoriello:

So here's an interesting question. If Lou Lamoriello were running the Leafs, what would he do?

It's a relevant question, if only because the New Jersey GM watched as his team tumbled out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference in the fall and then boldly reorganized his roster, partly by choice and partly by the choices of others.

Lamoriello gets a free pass in the Toronto media for some reason. And here is a guy that completely screwed up this year. He overpaid for Mogilny and yet the Leafs are supposedly the bad guys for letting him go. He was forced to cut salary not jsut because of poor performance but because he had gone over the cap. What kind of smart GM does that?

If Lamoriello was in charge of fixing the Leafs, you can suppose unproductive or one-dimensional veterans like Jason Allison, Jeff O'Neill, Domi, Nik Antropov, Alexander Khavanov and Aki Berg might find themselves in the same situation as players like McGillis and Mogilny.

Berg has played much better since his first horrible month and Jason Allison is currently centering what is arguably the best line on the team. If we want to start talking about under performing assets what about Mats Sundin? He has been AWOL since returning from injury. But Mats comes out and meets reporters after every game so I guess that makes everything ok.

And Jason Allison isn't exactly the best guy in the world defensively but he is second overall on the team in scoring. Letting him go would be the equivalent of dumping Scott Gomez who is New Jersey's second leading scorer but also is in the negative on the +/- side. Please.

So we come to tonight's game with a Red and a Blue team facing off in Ottawa with another Red and Blue team facing off across the country. By the time the polls close and the results start coming in it will be 10:00 here in Ontario. We won't know if we have a new Prime Minister till probably midnight. But considering the last three performances by the Leafs we may have another man behind the bench by that time.

Mr. Cox will be happy. In a way I am hoping he gets a little good news tonight. Because the other Red Team which his paper has so enthusiastically supported for the past 13 years is going down in flames.

Boy will he be grumpy tomorrow.

Friday, January 20, 2006

In The Spirit Of The Season

In the last two so-called "battles", the good guys have outscored their opponents by a score of 16 to 2, resulting in a pleasant spring day differential of +14.

What Will The Next Back-to-Back Goal Differential Be?
+15 Sens
+10 Sens
+5 Sens
+1 Sens
Leafs Will Outscore Sens


Free polls from Pollhost.com

Thursday, January 19, 2006


By The Meatriarchy

What can we say right now about the play of the Leafs? The slump that they are mired in has effectively wiped out the gains of the winning streak they went on just previously (where they were 8/10 or something) and put them right back into the battle for eighth and suddenly teams that were under performing like Atlanta or Jersey are now playing like world beaters while teams that had been sliding like Montreal are once more finding their footing and starting to win again.

You can't control what other teams are doing you have to control your own destiny. So they say in the world of professional sports. However the Leafs have been unwilling to do that as of late especially when they have been handed gifts. Like last nights gimme just 2:47 into the first period when Stajan scored shorthanded on a brutal giveaway in the Wild zone.

This mirrored the previous nights game in Colorado when the Leafs scored just 59 seconds into the first period but yet went on to lose by an identical score 5-3.

In fact in the past four games of this losing skid the Leafs have scored first in every game. They have also had shorthanded goals in two of them. Usually scoring first or scoring a shorthanded goal is an indicator that you will win the game. Going into this four game slump the Leafs were 15-4 when scoring the first goal.

On top of the ugliness of the past four games on the score sheet, today we find out that Alexander Khavanov suffered a rib injury in last night's game. Not that Khavanov has been a world beater this year but he certainly has been steady. So now we face the prospect of having to break the slide in Ottawa with two games against the Sens.

Who has a better chance of winning Monday night? The Leafs or Paul Martin's team?

Incidentally the game last night was so maddeningly boring that even when the score was 2-2 and 3-2 I was flipping over to watch the National. And I hate the National.

I guess there was nothing on the Playboy Channel.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

You're lucky

It's a good thing for you Leaf fans that I'm too busy thinking/blogging about the election to write anything about the string of losses the Leafs have put together.

Because if I did have the time I'd write something about the lack of any blueline depth and what it means for the Leafs come Saturday and Monday when they face the Sens without McCabe.

It's not going to be pretty. Or it is - depending on your perspective.

Friday, January 13, 2006

We Should Offer Him A Guest Slot At BoO

Gumby lays it all out in today's Sun:

"They worked harder than we did, I think," said Hasek. "If we don't score five or six goals, we probably don't win the game. It's important to be able to win games 3-1 and 3-2. In the playoffs, the games are going to be close.

"It's frustrating. We have to find a way to win these close games. I don't know the reason, but part of it has to be mental. After the first half of the season, I don't remember winning a game 2-1 or 3-2. I'd like to see us win 10 of those games by now. It makes the team stronger to know you can win these close games."

Hasek's point is backed up by the stats: The Senators, who have led the league for most of the season, are just 5-6 in one-goal games and, after last night, are just 11-10 in two-goal games. They are 18-3 in three-goal games.

He also brought up the fact that playoff games tend not to be blowouts, as Sens fans caught up in hellish 2-0 and 1-0 infinite loops can surely attest.

I'm really at a loss, here. I find it hard to believe that Spezza could have broken open any of the last few close games (although Havlat might have), nor do I see any available players out there capable of providing what they already ought to have in spades.

Saturday night we're in Edmonton and need to save some face if we're not going to go 0-3 against our western Canadian counterparts.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Need a nickname

Announced today:
The name of the Ottawa Senators' home arena will be changed to Scotiabank Place later this week as part of an agreement signed between Canada's second-largest bank and the NHL club.

We'll call it 'The Vault'. Oh, and we can call the beer vendors 'Tellers'.

Sorry - you'll have to come up with something better.....

Anatomy of a Road Trip

By The Meatriarchy
So here's how three games out west went:

Outshot by Calgary (barely) 28-27 and lost (barely) 1-0
Outshot by Edmonton 38-19 won by a goal. (3-2)
Outshot Vancouver 38-19 lost by a goal. (4-3).

So I guess Toronto isn't the only team in the NHL that wins despite getting outshot. Perhaps our local media could investigate this phenomena? They seem to think it is a unique to Toronto and points to a serious flaw in the team's makeup - if you goalie is bailing you out then your team must be crap. Seems like a lot of teams have this issue.

The real story of last night's game was the McCabe injury. The Leafs defense core looked more than a little shaky (despite the shot total) especially in the first 5 minutes of period one where Crawford used the last change to get his top line out when rookies Kronwall and Colaiacovo were on the ice (why these two were paired together is beyond me). Kronwall in particular looked bad last night. His passing was awful and his horrible clearing attempt led directly to a Vancouver goal.

After last night's game it is clear that McCabe shouldn't be considered so much for the Norris trophy as he should for the Hart. This guy is definitely the Leafs most valuable player.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Its Good to be a Leaf Fan

By The Meatriarchy

When your team is on a winning streak. Your top goalie prospect leads his team to a gold medal. Your other goalie prospect wins the best goaltender of the tournament award....

We know Pogge will be playing in Toronto next season. All that's left to be determined is whether it will be with the Marlies in the American Hockey League or the Leafs in the NHL. In any event, there's little doubt that Pogge has rocketed to the top of the Leafs' prospect list, closely followed by Rask, and will come into camp next season as the most highly touted young player since Wendel Clark in 1985.

And, the Sens let the lowly Bruins kick their ass.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Rumour du Jour

The Meatriarchy

Dave Shoalts of the Globe says the Leafs are going hard after a defenseman. It just wont be Sergei Gonchar:

The problem with Gonchar is that he has a huge contract, one with four-and-a-half years left at $5-million per year (all figures U.S.). The other is that he is having a terrible season, just like the Penguins.

What is surprising about this is that just about everyone around the NHL bet that under the new rules and new standard of officiating that Gonchar would be a candidate for the Norris Trophy. He is mobile and a great puck-handler, someone it was thought would be a great power-play quarterback....

...One scout who has watched him said Gonchar has gone from playing little defence to no defence at all. “He refuses to go back and get the puck,” the scout said. “You have to get the puck first before you can go on offence.”

Via Spector's Trade Rumours

Monday, January 02, 2006

Leafs 3 Penguins 2 (OT)

By The Meatriarchy

What a way to start the New Year!! The winnning streak now stands at six, another injury was absorbed and a new hero stepped forward.

By that I mean Chad Kilger a fourth line utility player stepped up when Darcy Tucker was felled and scored two goals on two beautiful setups by Alexander Steen who returned to the lineup from injury tonight and out did Sid the Kid on the scoresheet.

And as icing on the cake Leaf goaltender prospect Tukka Rask kicked out 53 shots in a shutout victory over the Swedes at the world junior tournament.

And the cherry on the icing was the 8-3 shellacking that the Sens suffered at the hands of the lowly Atlanta Thrashers - guess we should have known that Hossa would have been up for this one. The Sens on the other hand just plain didn't show up. And don't give me that "we didn't have Hasek or Alfredsson BS. The Leafs have gone 6-0 without Lindros Allison and a host of others and also did pretty well early on without Sundin. If Hasek and Alfie are the difference between a sure fire Cup contender and a team who gets trounced by the Thrashers then you guys should pack up your dreams right now and jump on the Leaf bandwagon.

There's plenty of room for panicky Sens fans and we'll be nice.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Leafs 6 Devils 3

By The Meatriarchy

I can't think of a better way to end the year than with a 5 game win streak can you? And a their current pace the Leafs are on track for a 101 point season.

They have done this without regulars Lindros, Allison, Andropov , Steen and Colaiacovo. They are 5 points ahead of the Canadiens who have rapidly come back to earth and 11 points ahead of 9th place Atlanta.

Word to the wise in 06: time to stop underrating this team.