Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TSN predictions

Tonight on TSN they gave their predictions:

8: Montreal
9: Toronto
10: Ottawa

It all starts tomorrow!

Also - Mirtle has the Sens at 13th. Really James? Really?

Squeegie retires

TSN Reporting that the most prolific visor-washer in the NHL has announced his retirement in Sweden.

See you in February, Mats.

UPDATE: ok... I felt bad. Seeing as he helped Colorado win the Cup by being traded from the Nordiques, I do have to say he was always entertaining to watch and deserves some respect. See ya' in the Hall.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Your Toronto Maple Leafs*

MacDonald is on waivers and there just wasn't enough room in the top six for Tyler Bozak. Congratulations to Victor Stalberg, great camp and well deserved roster spot!
Here's how the Leafs lineup should look Thursday night:




White -Exelby



*Play hard on the top two lines fuckers, because Phil Kessel is 4-6 weeks away from taking one of your spots!

Thanks to for the update.

Not even flowers

Oh, and by the way you ungrateful readers. We passed our 4th anniversary on Sunday here on the BoO and you didn't remember.

You're on the couch tonight.

Your 2009-10 Sens

Coming out of the gates, with the Shubert waive and Smith assignment, it looks like this is the roster:

Michalek - Spezza - Alfredsson
Kovalev - Regin - Fisher
Foligno - Shannon - Cheechoo
Ruutu - Kelly - Neil

Winchester comes back in a few weeks so a move will need to happen then.

Phillips - Volchenkov
Kuba - Karlsson
Campoli - Carkner

I'm expecting to see Lee sent down to Bingo.


My thoughts after the jump.

With the forwards, I think if the lack of goal scoring in the preseason continues into the regular season these lines change quickly. Kovalev on the left side and Regin holding the 2nd line center spot are the first things to change. Shannon could see himself with Kovalev on the right and Foligno on the left if the Fisher/Regin experiment doesn't score.
Regin himself will be watched closely as he's easy to send down when Winchester comes back. Donovan is a nice guy to have but if Regin does keep his spot then I'd expect Donovan to be moved to a team looking for a 3rd/4th line player at his low salary.

At defence, Karlsson of course is going to be nice to watch but the bigger question marks are elsewhere. Volchenkov's health will be important for both the success of the top shutdown pair and for what type of contract he'll be offered before he becomes a UFA next summer. If Carkner is responsible enough in his own end he'll stay up as we all expect fighting to be up in the Northeast this year and Neil can't go every night.

Am I as confident as James Gordon in this team? No. I think they will have scoring issues until all the new forwards (Michalek, Kovalev, Cheechoo, Regin as the 2nd line center) - guys that are expected to score - figure out the new system. If Leclaire outperforms expectations then yes we can look for the 2nd NE position and a 4/5/6 playoff spot. If he's normal, we're going to be in tough.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Stockholm, SE (TT): BoO to become BoSE in 2012/13?

So you Leafers are all excited about the hugeness that is Jonas Gustavsson, impressive at 6'3", 192 pounds. Pretty big for a 24 year old goalie. Exciting, isn't it, that BB has put all his hopes and future glory in the trapper of "the best goalie not in the NHL" (at 24, remember). Well, with a GAA of 2.4 in 20 games last year, and an astonishing 3.60 GAA in 10 playoff games, I'd be rather scared to see what "the 2nd best goalie not playing in the NHL" has for numbers!

Let's recap:
Goalie: Jonas Gustavsson
Birthplace: Danderyd, SE
Age: 24
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 192 lbs
Draft year, round, position: N/A, N/A, N/A (and that doesn't stand for "North America)

Now, Leaf fans, let me introduce you to our own Swedish prospect.

Goalie: Robin Lehner
Birthplace: Gothenburg, SE (shout out to the THM fam!)
Age: 18
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 220 lbs
Bio here. Article here
Draft year, round, position: 2009, 2nd, 46th.

Seriously, you want to talk nicknames? If you're calling your guy Monster at 193lbs at 24, what should we call this guy at 220 lbs at 18? Godzilla is taken. Is there a Swedish phrase for "holy F*@!?! HE"S HUGE!"

While we're talking goalies, let's not forget a hat-tip Toskala.

Preseason bonding rituals indicative of coming season?

While the Habs show they'll be putting their season in the pink Unicorn's hands and catering to the age group demographic that best suits the maturity of their fans with a stay at Teen Ranch, a Christian retreat north of Toronto, the Leafs will be starting their golf season really early in Huntsville.*

Meanwhile, the Sens have shown other teams they ought to be worried as Ottawa spent time sporting assault rifles at the RCMP firearms training faciliites. All but Alfie, of course. He just darted a glance at the targets and holes appeared; bullseye every time.

*c'mon - what else is there to do in Huntsville but golf? Perhaps they're going to watch all the pretty leaves fall off the trees as a team bonding experience? That would be oh, so poetic.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Should Kadri get 9 games in the NHL?

On the first day of this marathon Leaf camp, Wilson said that Kadri would likely not get the "Luke Schenn" treatment. Translated: He either stays up or he goes back to the OHL. No regular season "audition". Firm.

While I appreciate a hardline approach to bringing players up only when they are ready, is there any reason in the world why Kadri shouldn't stick around and see some NHL competition for a few weeks?

Eat, eat!

Just poking around the NHL stats and see that the smallest NHL defenceman last year was 175lbs - Kevin Quick played 6 games for Tampa, Cory Murphy 32 games for Florida and Tampa.

Karlsson is listed at 165.

Ah - but he's bigger than Stapleton of the Leafs who played 4 games for the Blue team and was listed at 160lbs.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


2nd in the league in preseason shooting percentage!

2 goals on 1 shot.
Rookie Matthew Martin of the Rangers leads with 2 goals on no shots.

Hello, I'm GM of the Leafs and the season starts tomorrow.

Here is my line-up based on how players have performed in camp:

Hagman - Stajan - Stempniak
Blake - Grabovski - Kulemin
Mitchell - Bozak - Stalberg
Orr - Hanson - Mayers

Komisarek - Kaberle
Beauchemin - Schenn
Finger - Exelby


On offence, Ponikorovsky goes because he's never played with heart and now we have players who do. See ya. I LOVE Rosehill's game and the second somebody gets injured he gets regular minutes. As of right now he dresses for games in Philly and Boston (but he will sit against the Sens when we don't need toughness).

On defence, I haven't seen MVR play so White gets the nod. Sorry Mike, but you're injured already and it's training camp for crying out loud. Frogren, all the best buddy. I choose Exelby over White because while I like the way the latter moves the puck, for my 17-minute-a-game defensive pairing I want the other team worry about getting hit. Hard.

In goal, I have high hopes for the Monster just like you (leaf fans), but in reality MacDonald has actually played in the NHL and he's played in camp and I'll take the bird in hand. If in two weeks one of Tosk or Joey struggles, The Monster is right in there.

KADRI: You are ready to shoot and score in the NHL but you are not quite ready to protect your own end of the ice or use your body. Go and dominate in junior for a year and we'll catch you next year.

KESSEL: When you're completely 100% and have practiced with full contact for at least a week, we'll slot you in. One of Kulemin or Stempniak are the first to go.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wayne Primeau hates the Sens.

Actually I'm not sure that is true. We'll get the BoO fact checkers on it pronto and let you know. Lets just assume so until then.

What is definitely true is that Primeau will be making his Leafs debut tonight against the Stanley Cup Champs.

He's on a line with Colton Orr and Jamal Mayers. Yowza.

The rookie-line of Bozak, Kadri and Stalberg will also skate in this one, as will the Leafs projected top two pairings Komi-Kaberle and Beauchemin-Schenn.

Game is on TSN, watch it in glorious HD.

5-0 for the Leafs is my prediction.

Yes, I'm actually getting cocky.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sneak preview

I'm thinking we can pencil this in for Volume 2 of Why the Leafs Stink:
"But that's Toronto. There's different pressures that exist. And I think they exist whether your name is Ken Dryden or Pat Quinn or Cliff Fletcher or John Ferguson or Brian Burke. And it'll apply to the next GM. I believe the key part of it is you can't get caught up in the immediacy. What happens when you get caught up in the immediacy is that you don't see the forest for the trees. Therefore, a trade for a couple of top 10 picks for Phil Kessel occurs."

The Kessel trade, of course, wasn't a Ferguson stroke. It happened on the watch of Brian Burke, who dispatched what turned out to be two top 10 selections in the 2010 and 2011 drafts to the Boston Bruins in a move to shore up Toronto's offence.

He got 60pts last year. 126 career points.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Random Leaf V.1

Kadri centering a line of Kessel and Kulemin might be pretty sweet coming out of next years camp. Sadly, some punter nicknames the line based on the first letters of their name and is promptly beat up at the bar.

How long before Komiserek and Beauchemin fight in practice? The reason? Who gets to play with Thomas Kaberle. After tonights game, me thinks Beauchemin could have a giant year with Kabby. Komi and Schenn as the second pairing - done!

Sitting at the bar tonight sipping a well deserved beer after my own hockey game, a teammate who despises the Leafs (he's a big Oil fan), said the first kind words about Toronto in the 5 years I've known him. "What's not to like", he said. Then I get home and find Conrad's positive words, and it dawns on me - if other fans opinions are the gauge, the Leafs are getting somewhere.

How many highlight reel goals does Nik Hagman have to score before he gets some proper respect? Glove tap to Cliff Fletcher for signing this guy.

Anyone else notice how skilled Kadri seems to be in the faceoff circle? It's the little things. I hope he has a great season in London, wins a gold medal over Christmas, and comes back next September 15 pounds heavier. He'll be feeding Kessel passes before we know it.

Colton Orr kicked the absolute crap out of Riley Cote tonight. When the camera scanned the Leafs bench during the fight the entire team was standing with grins ear to ear, and when he got out of the box later he came back to a ton of appreciation from all his teammates. Whoever says scrappers need to be removed from the game need to see that footage.

Ottawa won tonight. Finally. Also noticed that it's Alfredsson and Kovalev sharing the spotlight on the Sens website. Kovalev? What has happened to Jason Spezza? First off the Olympic list and now this?

One guy that could surprise and make the Leafs out of camp? Jason Rosehill.
One guy that could surprise by NOT making the Leafs out of camp? Jamal Mayers.
One guy who will wonder why he didn't make the team out of camp? Jason Allison. What a great set of hands. Shame about the feet.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Holy Crap

I had to re-read this information a few times: Kessel average ice time last season was 16:33 and he played on the 2nd power play unit.

Scott Cullen's numbers here.

Assuming his ice time goes way up and he gets #1 PP time, will the Leafs have their first 30+ goal scorer in I don't know how bloody long not named Mats Sundin? Even if he doesn'tm play until Thanksgiving.

F'n Aye we will

Leafs and Flyers pulling no punches

Phil Kessel will be introduced to the Toronto media in about 60 minutes. Then, an hour later, these two line-ups will hit the ice:

Forwards:Niklas Hagman - Matt Stajan - Jason Blake Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jason Allison - Lee Stempniak John Mitchell - Nazem Kadri - Christian Hanson Jay Rosehill - Rickard Wallin - Colton Orr Defence: Tomas Kaberle - Mike Komisarek Francois Beauchemin - Luke Schenn Carl Gunnarson - Garnet Exelby Goaltender: Vesa Toskala James Reimer

: James van Riemsdyk, Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Danny Briere, David Laliberte, Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe, Ian Laperriere, Riley Cote, Blair Betts, Mark Bell. Defencemen: Matt Carle, Chris Pronger, Danny Syvret, Braydon Coburn, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Randy Jones. Goalies: Ray Emery, Brian Boucher.

This should be a good one. I'm surprised Primeau hasn't got a game in yet. Is he still hurt?

Also Habs at Sens. I know it's only pre-season, but being winless must still kind of suck?

09-10 BoOB goes public

Ten slots left! If you want in on the action, go to, join the Battle of Ontario Battle and enter the password kovalevftw. Draft day is Saturday, September 26th at 9:00 AM pacific, 12:00 AM eastern (autodraft using pre-ranking is an option if you can't make it).

The league url is

Friday, September 18, 2009

Game Day: Leafs and Sens hit the road.

You smell that? Yep, it's the regular season fast approaching when the games will get really exciting and of course actually mean something. In the meantime, Leafs and Sens will both get game #3 out of the way tonight.

First up (because I'm a Leaf fan), Toronto visit Pittsburgh where Stajan and Blake will play their first game of the year. Leafs D will not feature any of the top 4, but Exelby is in so look for a few big hits as he tries to get himself a job.

Senators will take what could be their #1 line into action (Spezza, Afraidsson and Michalek), but as THM noted, it's an otherwise thin line-up that features a few bruisers for entertainment's sake.

Both games kick off at 7:30pm. Sens/Habs shown on RDS, while the Leafs/Pens are on Pravda (AKA Leafs TV).


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Game Day: Leafs vs. Psychopaths

Daniel Carcillo scares me and Colton Orr isn't dressed. This might be a bad night in the physical department for the Leafs, but I expect a few goals. Here's the complete rosters, game's at 7pm on LEAFS TV (you can watch it online for free):

TORONTO: F- Niklas Hagman, Lee Stempniak, Christian Hanson, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Ben Ondrus, Jay Rosehill, Nikolai Kulemin, Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri, Viktor Stalberg, Rickard Wallin, Mikhail Grabovski D -Luke Schenn, Mike Komisarek, Tomas Kaberle, Carl Gunnarsson, Andy Rogers, Jesse Blacker. G-Joey MacDonald, James Reimer

PHILLY: F- Matt Clackson, Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, Jeff Carter, Arron Asham, Dan Carcillo, Jon Kalinski, Darroll Powe, Riley Cote, Blair Betts, Mika Pyorala, Jared Ross. D- Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Danny Syvret, Logan Stephenson, Ryan Parent, Oskars Bartulis, Joonas Lehtivuori. G- Johan Backlund, Brian Boucher.

Pretty good line-ups for a pre-season game. I love that Kadri/Stalberg/Bozak are back for a 2nd straight night and we get our first look at Komiserek and Kaberle together. I believe Schenn will be paired with Andy Rogers.

KESSEL TRADE UPDATE: TSN reporting that blockbuster deal either with Toronto or Nashville is very close. Holding my breath and wincing just a little at rumoured packages Burke has allegedly offered.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'll drink whatever you're drinking Mike!

Mike Toth believes the Leafs will make the playoffs.

Don't you?

Also, some line-up info for the Bruins/Leafs game tonight. Kadri centering a line of Primeau and Orr? Allison skating with Grabovski and Kulemin? What the hell Wilson, did you pick these lines out of a hat?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Quick Pre-season accounting.

Ladies and Gentleman, your 2005/2006 Toronto Maple Leafs:

Mats Sundin
Darcy Tucker
Jason Allison
Alex Steen
Kyle Wellwood
Alexei Ponikarovsky
Jeff O'Neill
Nik Antropov
Clarke Wilm
Chad Kilger
Matt Stajan
Eric Lindros
Tie Domi
Ken Klee
Alexander Khavanov
Bryan McCabe
Tomas Kaberle
Aki Berg
Wade Belak
Staffan Kronwall
Ed Belfour
JS Aubin

Those are the players who played in 30 or more games for the team that season. Toronto have 3 players still on the roster and Jason Allison a long-shot at camp.

In comparison, Ottawa have 7 players remaining from that same season.

Have the Leafs changed enough? Did Ottawa change too much?

Monday, September 14, 2009

With that Heatley &%@* out of the way...

Whose up for a renewed Battle Of Ontario Battle?

Let me know in the comments when a live draft might work for y'all. Saturday the 26th or Sunday the 27th are the last weekend days before the start of the season, so I'd like to target those. Also, I realize we discussed changing some scoring rules, but Yahoo gives me the quick and easy option of resurrecting last year's pool structure, Lazarus-like, for immediate setup.

I'm done reading the Score Sports Forecaster, but I'm in definite need of a second opinion.

But they're sleepers, right?

I guess we need to temper our enthusiasm when a couple of our new players make lists like this.

4. Pascal Leclaire, Ottawa Senators
His list of injuries is almost as impressive as Gaborik's. Even if he's healthy, he's only had one solid year - and that was in a Ken Hitchcock system. I'll be honest with you: if it was the 16th round and I needed a third goalie and the only decent goaltenders left were Leclaire and Brian Elliott(notes), I would take Elliott.

1. Jonathan Cheechoo, San Jose Sharks
It's time to stop wondering what the hell happened to the former 56-goal flash-in-the-pan and start accepting reality. At this point, it's clear that he couldn't hit the broad side of Kyle Wellwood's(notes) gut. Who cares why? Move on.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Heatley Traded!

There you go SuperSix. You ask, we provide.
Just take it easy on Leaf fans for a week would ya?

Onto the trade, like I said in earlier post I think this is good for Ottawa who have needed more firepower in numbers rather than single units if you ask me. Cheechoo adds some grit as well. Better team for it.

Eklund's take on the trade which should please Sens fans.

I just hope this doesn't signify the beginning of a Mats Sundin "where will he sign saga" courtesy of now empty-handed sports media networks. Another year of that and I think we'll all kill each other. We might anyway.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The "other" Battle.

Balsille and NHL in court today as you all know.
If you want to follow along, good source here.

So far, it does seem like Judge doesn't like the smell of what the NHL is cooking. City of Glendale are on stand now. Exciting stuff if you enjoy courtroom drama based on hockey -- or if you're like me and have a very quiet week at work.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Same number, same Chris Neil beat downs...

Colton Orr will be wearing #28 this season.

Tie will be proud.

Can't believe I missed this!

PPP reviews a new book out there.

Oh, and while we're on the topic, SLC takes a look at the Leafs.

Ah, the season's almost back...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Burke in eye of offer-sheet storm

Yesterday, quietly, Brian Burke reacquired the Leafs 2010 2nd-round draft pick from Chicago. He paid a 2nd and a 3rd to get it.

Bob McKenzie kicked today off on by noting that the Leafs now have possession of their own 1st, 2nd and 3rd round draft picks for next year - the payment required to put an offer sheet on Phil Kessel and his estimated $4M-$5M salary request.

Cue the instant chatter, most of it retreading on the Lowe/Burke/Penner offer-sheet fiasco from a few years ago. Popular opinion this morning is that Brian Burke arranging his draft pick troops in such a threatening way to acquire Phil Kessel stinks of hypocrisy. He hates offer sheets. Remember?

Then over at our good friends Pension Plan Puppets, Leafies provides the minutes from Brian Burke's original criticism of Kevin Lowe which shows Burke never said he opposed offer-sheets to begin with. Here is a portion of that story from July 2007:

"I have no problem with offer sheets, they are part of the CBA," Burke said on a conference call. "I think it's a tool certainly a team is entitled to use. My issue here is this is the second time this year in my opinion Edmonton have offered a grossly inflated salary for a player, and it impacts on all 30 teams and I think it's an act of desperation by a general manager who is fighting to keep his job."

This afternoon, Chiarelli and Burke both spoke in detail about the rumours.

Brian Burke, unquestionably, is intent on making the Toronto Maple Leafs a better hockey team as fast as he possibly can. The question is, with the evidence we have, is he doing this now at the expense of his own principles? Or more importantly, will this be the perception? Personally, I see no hypocrisy, only that a man as brash as Brian Burke will always have his critics.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Jason Smith

He officially retired today, ending a questionable signing by Bryan Murray.

Besides his Ottawa days, he was a good player, a former Leaf, and at 35 years old there are worse things than retiring a millionaire.