Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Who's Serving The Kool-Aid?

While the Toronto media is rightly (for the most part) lambasting everything to do with the Leafs (except the bloggers because we are awesome) the ottawa media is doing peyote and knocking out absolutely ridiculous articles.

Hat-tip to Greg at AOL's NHL FanHouse for finding the acid-induced ravings of Wayne Scanlan who appears to have taken classes at the Steve Simmons School of Shooting Heroin and Writing for a Crappy Newspaper.

The Senators have won nine of their first 10 games to open the 2007-08 season. All they have to do is maintain this pace the rest of the way to more or less match the 1976-77 Canadiens. We could run daily comparison boxes in the newspaper to see how the Senators are faring against a true NHL dynasty. A little early to hold Ottawa up to such a high standard, you say?

Maybe, but think of the attention this would garner. The Senators want to be noticed. They want the Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza line to be known as the greatest in the game, so why shouldn't they be encouraged to go for it.

Yeah, why wouldn't we hold up the senators to such lofty heights? I mean, it's not like the senators have been dominant regular season performers before this year with all of the attendant pressures right? How did things work out the last few times they were this heavily favoured? Oh yeah, I remember...

2005-2006 113 pts, 1st Eastern Conference

2002-2003 113 pts, President's Trophy Winners

2000-2001, 109 pts. 1st Northeast

Well, there's the kiss of death. Thanks Wayne! Have a safe and Happy Hallowe'en and I hope those videos don't give anyone any nightmares.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Trust in agents

The Sun had an article stating that Spezza's agent has been talking to Murray.

What I find most interesting about the process is how hands off the players are with these things. From the article...

While Spezza isn't sure where the talks stand, it's believed Curran is seeking a long-term extension...

"The team wants to get something done. I want try to get something done. But, to be honest, it hasn't gotten to the point where (a contract) has come to me just yet," said Spezza.
I brought up a somewhat similiar issue with the Heatley talks. Maybe it's somewhat posturing -the player doesn't divulge his intentions or knowledge to the media so he's not hounded on the day to day updates - that would make some sense. If it's not that though the player must actually trusts his agent to understand all the intangibles that come into making the contract choices more than I could ever.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Caps @ Leafs, 7:30pm, LEAFSTV

I'll call this one 4-1 Toronto.
Sundin continues his domination at the ACC, and this time his teammates come along for the ride.

Help a brother out

Our blogging friend Alex Nikulin of the Binghamton Senators writes that his girlfriend is having problems getting over to the US.

Surely this should be one of the perks of playing in the Ottawa organization - getting government contacts to pull some strings - maybe for some tickets and a signed jersey or two??

Read on Milk's blog - a new daily read for me.

BoOB Standings

Ok. Be honest. How many of you paid the $10 for the real time stats?


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Are the Leafs the Best Team in the NHL?

Two straight wins. 1.50 goals against. 9 more goals.
Will anything stop the Toronto Maple Leafs now that they are in a groove? And with Wellwood, Bell, Tucker (that would be a 2nd line on 90% of NHL teams) and McCabe and Colaiacovo (a #1 Pairing on most teams) all coming back, one has to wonder if this is the greatest NHL team ever assembled?

And what about the Sens? Fluking their way to an NHL best 9-1, running into teams who are slumping PLUS getting 5 day rests between games? We are left to wonder... will they even make the playoffs?

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hockey's Back...again

After a dominant 2007.1 campaign, the Sens return from a long and grueling off-season training regimen in Deliverance, Ontario, ready to open up the 2007.9 season on the road in New Jersey.

Despite now having games in hand to the league leaders in Detroit and Minnesota, the Sens remain near the top of categories such as win percentage, goals allowed per game, and penalty killing percentage.

All the hints are that Paddock will carry on with the Heatley/Spezza/Alfie trio up front, not only to remind the "Hockeytown" faithful of another candidate for best line in the league, but to get the team's top guns rolling along at full speed prior to (one can only hope) experimenting with a more distributed attack that can prove more resilient over a long playoff run.

Other than that, it should be back to business as usual for the Sens. Vermette is nursing a tweaked back, McAmmond is having shoulder problems, Emery will look to work his way back into the starter's block, and to my persistent irritation, people will continue to yammer about bringing Peter Forsberg to Ottawa.

Let's go for a 4-3 Ottawa win in the shootout. Spezza (x2 incl. SO winner), Neil (step it up, guy!), Eaves. Zach Parise, under intense pressure from his general manager to secure the lead in the Battle of Ontario Battle, scores all three Devils goals.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Jiri Tlusty Come On Down!

Jiri Tlusty and Staffan Kronwall are making the trip to Pittsburgh with the former guaranteed a spot in the lineup (have a seat Wade) and the former possibly playing in lieu of an injured Bryan McCabe. Somehow Wozniewski is back in the lineup and that can only be because he has comprimising pictures of JFJ.

Since the season is officially over it's a good chance for the kids to get more ice-time. Then again, it could work out like the 2006 Hurricanes or the 1986 Canadiens where super-duper rookies led veteran-laden squads to Stanley Cup Glory. In fact, that is my prediction. Sorry sens fans, hope you enjoyed making the finals last year because in the words of Matt Hasselbeck - We are going and we're gonna win!*

*Completely ignore how that particular prediction worked out for the balding QB.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


7:30pm, Sportsnet Ontario.

Lets do the math here:

Toronto: highest scoring team in the NHL with 33 goals.
Atlanta: 4th lowest, scoring only 16.

Toronto: most goals against in the NHL with 37.
Atlanta: 4-way tie for 2nd worst, allowing 36 thus far.

What does it all mean? That statistically speaking, the Leafs should win this one 4-2 and Sundin should get at least one goal.

Of course, if things worked out like statistics say they should, Ottawa would have beat Toronto at least once in the playoffs. So throw all that out the window and give your predictions.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tucker Out Indefintely


This is no good. Wellwood is still a ways away and Bell won't be back for a few more weeks. Which means farm hands are on the way. I say pick the guy with the best +/- on the Marlies. Please.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Toronto have Raycroft in net, and Ottawa will see Emery for the first time this year.
Last minute predictions and in-game commenting here.

I took a proline and have Toronto and Florida to win. I have Jokinen in my BoO pool.
Lets make it a good night for The Muppet.

JAYUPDATE: Lalime will make his return to the ACC! A goose egg for Patty could well qualify for the feel-good story of the season.

The weekly wrap up

I think Muppet and Duff are emerging as the Mad Mikes of the BoOB, although in the former's case it appears to have been reasonably successful in breaking into the Sens-fan dominated top five.

Rumours that continue to disturb my sleep

I know it's old, and there are now far more desperate teams in the running for his services, but can someone please put the "Murray has 3 million for Forsberg" to bed for me?

And I'd also like to correct the rumour to read "Murray has 3 million for Forsberg and a severe case of amnesia regarding the last injury-vexed superstar with an incentive-laden contract to be tacked onto the lineup card".

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Better late than never

Game day post.

As I type this the Sens are up 1-0 on the Habs and the Leafs down 1-0 to F-L-A.

Make that 2-0 Panthers - 4 saves so far for Toskola. Vokoun not playing because of an injury.

Gerber and Price between the pipes in Kanata.

Talkin with Bryan

McCabe finally spoke up yesterday about his lack of popularity with fans. Not unlike a schoolyard kid who embarrassed himself in front of class mates, there's an underlying sense of deflection and stilted bravado in his words.

Here is how the interview might have went had I been in the room.

"It's not like it was the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals."
"How the hell would you know? We haven't made the playoffs in two friggen years, last year because of one measly point in the standings. One point?? EVERY point counts, tomato can.
"I'm one of the higher-paid guys on the team and they expect the world out of you. But I can't turn water into wine every night."
"Buddy. You're not even making moonshine out there. Body-checked by a net? Scoring on your own goal? Running around in your own end? I don't even know what to call that drink. Something with bitters.
"Obviously, you'd like to get cheered, not booed, at home. It's nothing I can control."
"You can control it by playing well. How about that? Jesus Christ, can't you take any responsibility for your actions? I would just prefer you apologized to the fans for your lack of production and its inherent effect on the team and promise to be better. Enjoy the boo's tonight.

Read the rest of his colourful quotes here:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

An Apology

Sorry Leafs fans. How I could have let sens' fans mirth last all day without posting their own recent defensive blunder is beyond me. Thankfully TSN reminded me of that (2nd) most beautiful of Stanley Cup winning goals. If you told me that Chris Phillips had scored it I would have assumed that it meant that Armageddon was around the corner. Not quite :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The people want to talk about it....


So when they said they wanted a replacement for McAmmond do you think they were looking for a guy that's played for as many franchises? Robitaille is now with his 9th NHL club. I guess that's more than even McAmmond has as he went to Chicago and Calgary twice.

Hope he fits in just as well too if he clears waivers.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Marty Gerber is mad as hell and he's not gonna take it anymore

The 5 on 3 sequence every Sens fan was raving about the other night:

When the Pissed Swiss hurls the puck out of the zone, you can almost read it as a statement issued to the club's notorious job-stealing pugilist.

"Do not mess with Marty tha G."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Take a breather

The Sens definitely weathered the early season storm of games with Emery gone.

What's fun is that we Sens fans get to admit that maybe our previous attitude towards Gerber was wrong. It's a really a no lose situation from a fans perspective.

For Leaf fans and their goalies - not so much.

Also, what's not fun is commenters who could have been an addition to the site become a detriment. If you want back in to play, mail me.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Game Day Thread

Piitsburgh @ Toronto 7pm, CBC
Ottawa @ New York Rangers, 7pm, MSG

Standings as of today:

Syd doesn't have a goal yet, which is a scary proposition because he's going to wake up sooner than later. He has three goals and nine assists in eight games against the Buds. From the kid:
"I am tired of comparing last year to this year, to be honest," said Crosby. "Nothing we did last year means anything now."

I couldn't agree more.

The Rangers are fresh off a win last night in Washington. Will Lundquist get back to back games? I hope so, he's in my pool. Ottawa have allowed the 4th most goals against in conference, but scored the most. The Rangers have yet to really break out offensively, but have allowed less than 2 goals a game on average. This one is tough to call, but I'll take the Rangers with Shanahan scoring two. (he's also in my pool, go figure).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sens take on Canes

I guess we should put up a post here for game thoughts.

See if we can hold this team to less than 7.

Speaking of scoring 6 or more goals....
Via Black Aces - looks like the Pizza Line name has gotten around...
...on Atlanta television, the announcers were calling them the Pizza line and even had their side reporter explain the meaning behind the moniker...


The Leafs have a chance to even up their 1-2-1 record.
Game starts at 7:30pm on Leafs TV, the Islanders in town after beating the Rangers 2-1 last night at home.

Ponikorovsky got hurt in practice yesterday which means the Gamanche will take his place. Raycroft gets the twine. No word on any defensive changes for Toronto, both Stralman and Kronwall are available.

Leafs Game Day!

WOOOO!! Time for redemption and to get the season back on track against the surprising Islanders (Does the NHL view that decade of Ted Nolan-free coaching as a crime?). A win tonight will lower blood pressure levels across the country and put the Leafs right back in the playoff hunt. Wait, it's just the fifth game of the season? That gives thing a bit of perspective. Maybe I won't lose my shit if the Leafs lose but I'd rather not find out.

The Islanders are coming off of a win last night against the Rangers and the Leafs have apparently made some interesting changes. Whether those changes make a difference is a whole other matter but, yes DC, once again the Leafs are looking towards 4th liners and rookies to give the team a boost.

This is the fourth of eight home games in the season's first 10 games. The Leafs are 1-1-1 which is just barely acceptable especially for a club that used to regularly dominate on home ice. Maybe we need more Saturday night games.

Anyway, during the game you can stick around here and be bombarded with sens fans and their comments or come to the warm embracing arms of the Leafs'-only game thread.

Action Required

Sens fans need to help out with this one....
Hat-tip to Mirtle.

The obvious question....

With Toskalime playing like he is after getting a 2yr extension before he'd played a game as a starter, the contracts of McCabe and Kubina sticking out like they are, and Maurice seeming to be safe....

Ell-i-ot Ell-i-ot

Sens Army officially going off the deepend in our discussions on the Sens goaltending 'depth' today but what the heck - it's a waaaaay better feeling than 12 months ago!

Gerber - 0.949 SV%
Elliot - 0.966 SV%

Toskalime - 0.865 SV%
Dullcroft - 0.867 SV%

Also - the only guy picked later than Elliot in the 2003 draft is....
Arseny Bondarev

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

sens gameday

The sens look to continue their reversion to form (hot regular season, terrible playoffs) with a 5th consecutive victory against the Thrashers tonight. Luckily for them Hossa is out. Their PK is 'perfect' and their top line is 'untouchable' and their goaltending is 'amazing'. Yeah, sounds just like every regular season not including last year. And what did all of those years include? A playoff failure long before the final. You have 78 games to prepare yourselves for the inevitable failure. Like true government employees you'll procrastinate while the Type-As in TO get a head start.

So enjoy your regular season sens fans. Seriously, enjoy it. You live in ottawa, hockey should at least distract you from that. You just wish you had a player like Belak to lift you to the next level.

TV: Sportsnet East
Radio: A what now?
Online: Sens TV Portal

Sweet Widgety Goodness

Check out the new NHL Dashboard widgets from Kelly Phillips at It even has special BoA/O/C/NY/P functionality (see Andy's screenshots here).

Only works for us Mac snobs at the moment, but a Yahoo! version is forthcoming.

PPP Update: Andy Grabia of The Battle of Alberta sent along these instructions for anyone that has a Mac and wants to add the widget which is supposed to be awesome. I have to wait for the PC version...dammit.

1) Make sure they are using a Mac. This version won't work on a PC. A PC version is coming soon, but it ain't ready yet.

2) Go to this page:

3) Click on the "Download Dashboard" button at the bottom of that page.

4) It will download to your desktop, open, and then ask if you want to install. You say, "yes."

5) The widget should pop up. It will have the score for the season so far.

6) Click on the options button at the top.

7) Scroll down until you find the Battle of Ontario options. You can either look at the feed, or at the matchups.

8) All done.

9) There are tons of other options, and preferences they can choose from. They should play around and see what they like.

10) If there are questions, I would suggest two ways of attempting to answer them. Within the Options section of the widget itself, there is a "Help & FAQ" section. Scroll to the bottom of the widget options to find it. If that doesn't answer the question, post your query here for Kelly to answer.

JAYUPDATE: Yahoo version has been released.

No Hoss

Hossa hurt his groin in a skating drill at the end of practice Monday and Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said the club isn't going to risk playing him until he's 100 percent.

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

Your faithful, despondent correspondent at last night's game.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Those 1000 words consist of about 75% profanities.

The reviews are in!!

Lankof: Maple Leafs look lost in loss

Instead they were every definition of awful. "We could go through the whole list," said head coach Paul Maurice, who stared across the ice in the third period like he was seeing a ghost. "We were just very poor in most areas of the game."
When the coach doesn't even try to sugarcoat an effort, you know it's bad. When the best players on the ice are the guy with cancer and the goalie, you know it's bad.

Zeisberger: Holiday on Ice for Leafs

The disgraceful effort should send warning signs to coach Paul Maurice and general manager John Ferguson on a number of fronts.
First off, management and players stressed throughout training camp the importance of taking advantage of a home-heavy schedule in the early part of the campaign.
With eight of their first 10 outings at the Air Canada Centre, the Leafs knew the tone of the season could be set in that span.
So far, so bad.

and the finale....

Cox: Not much hope for these Leafs

Losing 7-1 in humiliating fashion to the Hurricanes in the third home game of the season was a stunning pratfall for the Leafs, a group of athletes who once again had a lot of promises going into the season. Just more talk. Barely a bodycheck thrown last night, folks.


How could it have gone this bad so soon?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Paul Maurice's old team are in town. Catch the game on Sportsnet Ontario at 7pm.

Pro•Line have the Leafs heavily favoured if you're into that kind of thing.
The only bet I'll make is that Toskala shines and the good guys win, leaving only one Ontario team with a pending goaltending controversy.

Comments and predictions are mandatory.

Rookies in the Sens Blogosphere

Some of these have been around a while now and you might be reading them already but check them out as well as all of the other fine talent shown in the sidebar....

Sens HQ
Daigle Or Bust
Black Aces

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Only BoO That Matters

The first week of the Yahoo BoOB has ended and the leader is SFIT. Who are those two teams propping up the table?

Figuring out the allegiances of each Yahoo squad is a little tricky so if you could state your team name and colours in the comments I'll pass the list along to Senator McCarthy so that he can deal with the red contingent appropriately. I know I'd rather be dead than red...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

(Hot) Turkey Day In Canada

With abnormal holiday temps soaring into the thirties back east, the undefeated Sens host the wandering, Rafalski and Gomez-less Jersey Swamp Rats at 3:00 PM eastern, 12:00 PM pacific (available on Sportsnet East or the Team 1200).

Brent Sutter has his first NHL win out of the way, and will need to somehow come up with a better checking line plan than the one Alfie and co. walked through on their way to EC finals.

Meanwhile, the leafs managed to convert on a late OT powerplay Saturday night, keeping them from becoming the gobblers of the Northeast.

If Marty tha G. keeps on deflecting pucks, I'm going to have to go ahead and start an online petition to retain that black mask. The new design has apparently been delivered, but it's not quite broken in and ready to go yet. Let us all pray it's not another one of those euro metal death beast themes.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Saturday night!

A few hours from gametime.

Big game - for a few into the season - at the ACC. The Habs-Leafs tilts is one that I wish I had a two TV setup so I could watch it and the Sens. These two are obviously expected to fight over a playoff berth so a lot of pressure on both - more on Toronto of course with their winless record.

All the spotlight will be on Toronto's goaltender.

Did you read Cox's article? I just love how he is able to bring it every column. He's talking about the franchise record for goals and writes this:
It's no surprise, really, that the individual goals figure at the top of the Leaf all-time list is the lowest of the Original Six franchises.
For decades, players either haven't been good enough to push the bar higher, or they didn't stay in town long enough to do so.
Even Sittler was a Leaf for slightly less than 12 seasons.
Sundin, the most dominant and accomplished Leaf figure of my working life in the sports reporting racket, is now in his 13th, and it could be his last.

What a franchise.

Here at home we get to watch the new and improved Rangers. I'm interested to see how Alfie's minutes end up as he's logged 26 and 25 in the first two games - more than I'd like to see personally. He's picking up some of the PK slack in McAmmond's absence.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Alfie! Alfie! Alfie!

Conn does it again.

Redden gets 6 more PIMs. Meszaros looking strong. Trying to regain that number 1 tandem spot boys?

I'll give the Leafs some props for trying. The little guys just don't have the talent on the roster to do it. But what about Tucker? These games are supposed to be where he shines and he was invisible in both.

I'm guessing Toskala's play earned him the start on Saturday in Montreal. If he loses that one though we could see a full blown crisis in Hogtown.


Round 1: 4-3 (OT) sens in Toronto

Round 2 tonight at 7:00 in ottawa.
TV: CBC HNiC in Leafs' Land (26% of Canada!)
Radio: Team1200 in Ottawa, AM640 in Toronto
Jay Update: The game will be streamed online at You'll likely need a Canadian IP but apparently there are sites that can help our American friends with that.

Starting tenders:
Ottawa: Gerber
Toronto: Toskala - That is a guess since Maurice is waiting until game time to name starters this year because of the horrific TO Media.

The Leafs would love a repeat of last year's 6-0 drubbing of the sens in the second game of the season especially since the First Loser Banner will be going up at the Sc'ank.

As buildup, check out TSN's Top 10 Battle of Ontario moments and relive the days when the Leafs always scored the winner in OT.


Ok, it's hard to track comments when they surpass 130 so time for another thread.

The more things change the more they stay the same. The Leafs outplayed the senators for long stretches of the game but the senators showed their pedigree by pulling out a 4-3 win in OT. That makes them 4-0 starting the season in Toronto. Let's do something about the schedule so we open against anyone else.

Blake - Man was he zippy. I don't remember the last time the Leafs had a guy that fast. He gave the sens' defence fits all night.

Antropov - Awesome. If he can stay healthy then Muppet and I won't look stupid for predicting big things for him.

Wozniewski - Two assists and generally a very good game. Keep that up and people will change their mind about you.

Steen - Stajan - Poni - An entire line of young, homegrown players? Weird. They were great along the boards and won a lot of battles with the sens' defence. I really like the look of this unit.

PK - The Leafs have one this year? That would be great news.

Vermette - Wow. Jay suddenly looks like a genius. Those are some serious wheels.

Redden - (Edited for my stupidity) So much aggression. It must be either the coke or some roids or maybe a desire to stop stealing his paycheque from the sens.

Heatley - Shows why he got the big bucks. He's locked up for his prime for a reasonable number considering he was about $1.5M away from the sens' offer. Like the NFL capologists say "In a cap system you can pay players big money just make sure that it's the right player." Dany Heatley is definitely the right player.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


You've read the season previews. You've seen the rosters. You've cursed the opposition. The pre-season is over. The real season begins tonight in the best way possible: a BoO. The sens are 3-0 when facing the Leafs on Opening Night so the buds are clearly due. The Gerbatross gets the start for the sens while the Leafs counter with...mind your own damn business! Courtesy of our friends at the NHL FanHouse here is a video history of the Battle of Ontario to pump everyone up prior to puck drop.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

1 more sleep!!!

What will you be doing tomorrow night? I'll be at the neighbourhood pub - the Arrow and Loon doing a little hockey pool with a few neighbours during the intermission.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Your 2007-2008 Maple Leafs

Following Jay's example here is a blue and white version. I've managed to see most of the pre-season games including the competitive Sabres game. The forwards were covered mostly in previous entries but now I'll include how it looks like the defence will shake out.

Mid-Writing Update: Here's confirmation that these seem to be the lines. Damn MSM beat me to the punch.


N.B. Paul Maurice tends to like the blender approach to his lines. He also ran the top three lines ragged last year but after the Devereaux addition last year he seemed to place more confidence in the fourth unit. Whether he spreads the time out 5-0n-5 more equitably and if he keeps the lines as they stand will go a long way towards determining the accuracy of these predictions.

Scoring 1: Antropov / Sundin / Blake

Antropov's health is the key on this line. All three players have already shown that they have chemistry as evidenced by some dominating performances in the pre-season. Mats and Antro dominate along the boards and Blake throws some speed into the mix along with his pitbull play. Blake is supposedly the messiah winger that Sundin has waited his entire Leafs career for while dealing with players on the downside of their career or Jonas Hoglund. I think Blake is good for 30+ goals depending on how the PP time is spread out. Antro, if healthy, will have his massive breakout season that will make his $2M contract look like a bargain: 25-45-70.

As for Mats, that's a lot of points on his line plus his PP time means that I am predicting a statement season from Our Swedish Captain: 40-60-100. His statement? Forgot about Mats.

Scoring 2: Ponikarovsky / Stajan / Steen

This is where the Leafs' season will turn. This trio of homegrown players might be joined by Kyle Wellwood at some point if the Leafs' atrocious medical staff gets its act together but the pressure will be on them to show significant development. Ponikarovsky is coming off a career season in which he put up 21-24-45 in 71 GP. He will at least match that with at least a small improvement for inflation: 25-30-55. Steen and Stajan have shown some good chemistry and both are strong along the boards especially Steen who used his shock hit in the corners to great effect last year. Steen's numbers were a bit of a disappointment last year (15-20-35 in 82 GP)but he did start the year with Peca and Kilger who aren't exactly offensively skilled: 20-30-50. Stajan is the playmaker in the group by default (he ALWAYS passes) and will be the defensive conscience of the trio. The increase in ice-time and more skilled linemates positions him well to improve on his career high points total from last year (39): 15-35-50.

Checking 3: Kilger / Pohl / Tucker

This line may actually end up being the Leafs' second unit if pre-season form carries through. Pohl took advantage of the injury situation last season to display the hands that endeared him to the University of Minnesota faithful. He, along with Kilger, are proof that JFJ is not completely useless as a GM. With the promotion from the 4th line he'll get more opportunities to show off the other half of his skill set: 15-25-40. Kilger, who my friends and I joke could pot 60 goals if he had any hands, showed in the pre-season that he might have spent the summer softening up his pair of bricks. If he buries a tenth of the chances that his rambunctious play creates then he could crack the 20 goal plateau: 20-20-40. Darcy's totals will depend on the powerplay time that he gets. This trio will make a great momentum shifting line or at least it better because with Tucker's contract the decreased offensive production the intangibles will go a long way to determining whether he falls into whipping boy territory: 25-25-50.

Energy 4: Devereaux / Newbury / Battaglia

20 points each will be a minimum from this trio. They are a sandpaper line if I have ever seen one. Newbury, like Pohl, saw an opportunity with the Leafs and grabbed it with both hands. The veterans on his wing showed an ability to create chances on the cycle (in fact, so much of the Leafs' offence will come from the cycle) and their points totals will really depend on the whims of the hockey gods.

Possible Call Ups / Fill-ins / Injured / Suspended: Gamache / Tlusty / Wellwood / Ondrus / Bell

The lines will be completely blown up if Wellwood returns but that's a good problem to have. Gamache will most likely be the first call-up if anyone on the third line is hurt with Ondrus standing by in case anything happens to Newbury. Leaf Nation's long Belak nightmare may finally be over!


Offense 1: Kaberle / Kubina

You'll notice that the Leafs don't really have a shutdown pairing. Our defence are for getting points and they'll once again be among the best units in the league. They'll keep shots down but whether the ones given up are amazing chances or peripheral shots is an entirely different matter. Kaberle will be awesome as always. He's shooting more often and he still is the straw that stirs the drink on the PP: 15-50-65. Kubina is going to have an awesome year. He is big and rangy on defence and he has shown more confidence in his offensive abilities this pre-season. Last year with injuries and a new baby in Prague he had a lot of distractions. This year he will show his true abilities: 10-30-40.

Offense 2: McCabe / White

This pairing terrifies me. McCabe and White are good when paired with a defensively sound partner. This is like putting two sens fans in a field of sheep - there is not going to be anything but trouble. With PP time and Kaberle serving up goals on a platter the bane of my existence will probably get 15-40-55. White, with the increase in ice-time, will see his points total increase: 5-30-35. He makes a good first pass (ask Hal Gill) but the first time he shies away from contact and throws a weak backhand up the boards to the opposition I'll still be wondering if JFJ can get a 3rd rounder for him.

Third Pairing: Gill / Wozniewski

Gill doesn't do offense: 3-15-18. Woz, according to the media, is awesome. I have my doubts: 5-15-20. Woz won't see much ice and Gill's true value is his size on the PK.

Scratches / Call Ups / Injured : Colaiacovo / Stralman / Harrison / Kronwall

Again, when Carlo returns it'll throw the pairings into chaos. Stralman will get a taste of NHL life until then. He is exempt from waivers so no problem there. Kronwall is likely with the Leafs all year as he would have to clear waivers. Harrison is in the same boat so he might be lost to the Leafs on his way down which is a real shame.


Toskala / Raycroft

One tied the franchise record for wins but isn't the # 1 and the other has moved from one goaltending battle to another. Together they will form a strong platoon. Why? Because I said so. Raycroft started 41 of the last 42 games and made 70 starts. That's Luongo and Brodeur territory albeit, sadly, without the numbers. The decrease in workload will go a long way to keeping him sharp and fresh which, when he was both of those things in the first 15-20 games of last season, he was good.

As for Toskala, Eddie the Eagle had a crappy pre-season too and did pretty well. He showed the skillset to be a number 1 in SJ now it's just a matter of whether he can translate that success over 38 games (his career high of games played) to around 50-55.

The platooning should keep both goalies fresh and the competition can't hurt. I'll predict 28 wins for Toskala and about 17 for Raycroft based on 52 and 30 starts each respectively.

Overall: 45-27-10, 100 points, 7th in the East with a BoO First Round Matchup.


Good news Leaf fans! NO MORE HARRY NEALE!...on regional broadcasts or LeafsTV.

He'll still be on HNiC despite my e-mail campaign to get rid of him.

He'll be taking a spot in the Buffalo broadcast booth. Feel free to laugh at Sabres Fans.