Friday, December 31, 2010
GDT: Ottawa v. (insert winning team name)
At that time, Ottawa was 10-3-3 at the Bank and in the midst of a 5-in-6 run of victories, posting a 12-7-3 record.
Things are different this year!
Ottawa is sucking hard at SBP, is out of the playoffs and Pascal Leclaire is injured. Ok... maybe things haven't changed all that much.
Gonchar or Kuba may be watching from the stands. If it's Kuba in the press box, Sens have a chance. If it's Gonchar, Elliotte Friedman thinks that'd be a bad move (see 12 - see also point 30 for a terribly unfortunate linkage between Ottawa & Toronto).
Here's Spezza's replacement:
Jim O'Brien (C) was brought up today to help out at centre. Sporting 12 goals, 13 assists in 33 games and 200 lbs on a 6-2 frame, plus a set of radar-ears, perhaps he'll be one of those sleeper prospects and give us a little blind hope.
No one gives a shit about this game. It's all about the BoO tomorrow night. Because that's the only thing that can really matter this season.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The Calder Trophy winner that never was
Ottawa loses its best centreman to an injury (f$#k you, Letang!) and Toronto loses its best centreboy to giving-up-hope.
Here's a little fun:
Google Image Searching of "nazem kadri soother picture" brings up the following:
Friday, December 24, 2010
Enjoy the time away from your respective non-playoff team, folks.
A Very Merry (& safe) Christmas everyone.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Unlike most of his modern counterparts, who said the World Juniors acted as a great springboard into an NHL career, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel downplays the impact of the tournament on the careers of NHL prospects.
"No, it's a short tournament, you just go out there and play for your country, try and do the best you can," Kessel says.
Then again, that lack of enthusiasm could be attributed to the fact that Kessel's two years playing for the U.S. weren't particularly successful ventures for his team.
Ilya Kovalchuk for the Hart!
I'm not going to defend MacLean because I don't know enough about the guy, truth told. But one thing that gets me in this and most professional sports leagues is that you can fire the coach but you can't fire the guy making $100M who was a healthy scratch because he's floating around out there.
Just makes me question the sanity of the professional ranks that we invest so much time into as fans.
What will this mean for the Devils? My guess is the team will improve as they revert back to that sickening brand of hockey Lemaire is so apt at providing. For the fans of New Jersey I'm sure today provides them with at least a little optimism too.
It's just too bad the Devils couldn't simply give Kovalchuk a paycut and use that money to help the team instead of reinstating the trap and boring us all to death with 2-1 games.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Love the waffles
Update: Quotes like these aren't going to help:
“The guy’s an idiot,” winger Clarke MacArthur said. “It’s not funny, whoever’s doing that.”
“It’s just brutal,” added teammate Luke Schenn. “It’s one thing to have your fans booing you, but it’s another for people to start throwing things on the ice.”
Update2: Time to revive the old BoO Cafe Press shop. Anyone with some good waffle tshirt art? I'm thinking something like this:
Dear Burke, (Picture of waffle) YOU!
I (Picture of heart shaped waffle) MLSE!
Merry Christmas. Pack your s---.
Garbage. No other word describes what we're seeing on the ice at ScotiaBank Place or the ACC of late. Except waffles. That is a literal description of what we see on the ice at the ACC. You know that scene in Slumdog Millionaire where the kids are picking through the garbage to find recyclables to sell for cash to buy food while sometimes identifying a piece of clothing they'd like to keep and wear? If they were to film that today, you'd see some kid picking out a blue and white '81' sweater or a red, white and black '55' sweater, curl up his or her nose and toss the jersey underneath the shitters that the actor blew his innards from.
Grabyourcrotchski and Undrarkid Karlsson are the only bright lights on either team. The next BoO on January 1, 2011 should feature a flat out one-on-one between these two kids (1-on-1 on 1-1-11! Great TV promotion there!). Put a
Sundin bobble head tomato can on the ice at either end of the rink and tally the number of times each hits said can with the puck. Highest total wins.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tick Tock Tick Tock
I started to write a story yesterday about the Leafs remaining games up to January and how important they are if the Leafs hope to get close to 8th position before the new year but I got sidetracked. Damn job...
Anyway, one game down in this important string of contests, and Leaf fans have to be happy Toronto got that first one out of the way against Edmonton. They looked good doing it too, but the Oilers have made a lot of teams look good this year so lets not get too excited right?
As you can see above, the Leafs are now 1 point away from 9th position with two games in hand on that other Ontario team. The biggest obstacle now, besides some of the tough teams Toronto still have to beat before NYE, is of course Carolina who have two games in hand on Toronto and then any other team around us capable of going on a run. Which is all of them.
Still, Toronto went into this week needing to win two of three against the Canadian West and that number has turned into one win in their next two. One foot in front of the other and all that. If the Leafs can somehow get within 3-5 points of 8th place in the next few weeks, I think we can all look to the rest of the season with some hope. If the team struggles the hope of playoffs could be gone before the calendar flips.
A FEW NOTES ON LAST NIGHT'S EFFORTS:
KADRI: Taylor Hall stole the show last night if you're keeping track of the rookie content, but Kadri was close again on a few occasions. That goose egg will break at some point and the kid might have 15 goals in him after that we could hope, but he's not going to win the Calder this season and as long as he gets better as the season goes on Toronto fans should be happy.
ARMSTRONG: I was glad to hear Phaneuf in his post-game comments give props to Armstrong for screening Khabibulin on the captain's blast from the point. I've lost track now, but the Leafs record is excellent with Armstrong in the line-up as opposed to when he hasn't. The little things he does, every shift, are the things that I hope fans start to appreciate more. We've needed a guy like this for a long time it seems. I'd like to see more Armstrong love out there.
GIGUERE: If he had gotten the shutout he would have been a star of the game. Instead he just stopped two Hall breakaways and everything else after the Eberle goal (what a set of hands), and continues to prove that Vesa Toskala should be on my Men's league team. As the back-up.
MACARTHUR: This is what the Leafs probably wanted from Lee Stempniak game in and game out. Burke will have a tough decision come end of this season because so far MacArthur has earned that arbitration awarded salary he didn't get this summer from Atlanta. Can the Leafs afford him? Can they afford not to sign him?
Monday, December 13, 2010
Leafs and Sens heading in different directions.
Besides the standings and perhaps goal differential, in my opinion that's where the comparison ends.
AGE: Ottawa are around the 8th oldest club in the NHL, depending on which players play on any given night around the league. The Leafs were the youngest team in the NHL last week, jockeying with Edmonton on nights Aulie doesn't dress. This is an important fact when you consider Alfredsson who hasn't scored in weeks is 38 years old. Is it a slump or is it the end? This is what happens when you have players pushing 40. Toronto on the other hand don't have a forward over 28 years old.
DIRECTION: Ottawa finished 6th last season in the east and currently are out of a playoff spot. Toronto are better than where they were at this time last year and where they finished the year, but not by much. Still, Ottawa are heading south and Toronto north.
PROSPECTS: Ottawa have a good young d-man in Karlsson but after that it's a bit dicey. Cowen hasn't made the NHL yet but has upside for sure. Corey Locke is the leading scorer in the AHL right now but at 5'9" and this his 7th season in the AHL, is he a prospect or a career AHLer? Binghampton also have Butler and Condra in the top 30 scorers in the AHL, but again, these are older players and in the AHL that can be a bad thing. Jonathan Cheechoo is the 10th highest scorer in the AHL and ex-Leaf prospect Kris Newbury who is 28 is in the top 20. So it's hard to get a read based on points alone. Toronto meanwhile have two players vying for team Canada positions at the WJC (Ross and Ryan) plus Gregg McKegg has already won player of the week twice in the OHL and is 5th in scoring. D'Amigo will represent the US at the WJ tourney. Add a trio of killer goaltending prospects in Rynass, Reimer and Scrivens, plus the youth on the Leafs big club (Kadri, Aulie), and it's fair to say that Toronto flat out have a better youth brigade than Ottawa.
STABILITY: Love him or hate him, Brian Burke will be GM for the Leafs for years to come. He has four years left on his contract and has installed a team of proven veteran coaches, assistants and scouts. It's a stable management structure with only Wilson seeming to be on the hot seat according to media but not so far by Burke. Ottawa on the other hand have an unproven coach, a GM on the way out and an owner who seems to open his mouth about hockey things when he shouldn't. If I'm a Sens fan I'm thinking who knows what the hell is going to happen in the next year or two. Not very attractive for players.
RECENT WINS: Toronto are coming off a week where they won 3 of 5 games against some of the best teams in the NHL. That's a .600 win % against Boston, Washington, Pittsburgh, Montreal and Philly. Impressive no matter how you slice it. Since November 24th Ottawa have three wins and two of them have been against teams below them in the standings. Not a bullet-proof statistical argument by any means, but lately Toronto are doing more to make folks believe there is hope with this roster.
SCORING RACE: Alfredsson would be tied for 3rd in scoring if he was a Maple Leaf right now. Toronto have 6 players with more points than Jason Spezza. Even in the early 2000's when Toronto and Ottawa were both cup contenders in the east, Ottawa always had an edge when it came to top talent production. This is actually a bit of a head scratcher. Ottawa can't even blame injuries at this point.
LUCK: Folks will try and blame every trade gone sour on the GM and give props to every move that works out brilliantly. I'm not going to say that Murray was an absolute moron trading Heatley for Michalek, or swapping Vermette for LeClaire, but neither have worked out well for the Sens. Meanwhile Burke picks up McArthur for $1M in salary and the guy leads the team in scoring along with rampage beatings of Montreal defenceman. You need to be a bit lucky in deals and I will be the first to admit that Murray hasn't had a horseshoe land on his boot for a long time. In a league this close, that shit comes back to haunt you.
I can't remember who Don quoted from the Ottawa media, the writer who said he wouldn't trade rosters with Toronto right now, but to combat one homer perspective with another, that dude is out of his mind. Toronto may not make the playoffs this year and this roster and organization still needs seasoning and some additional help, but you would have to be a little crazy not to see that the Leafs are a much stronger bet going forward than Ottawa.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Here's the offensive output of these teams over time. Yeah - it's that bad this year.
PS: Forgot to say that I could really get behind this 'throw a waffle at the Leafs' thing
Monday, December 06, 2010
Leafs vs Goliath
They have a plethora of all-star talent.
They have scored almost 100 goals already.
They are the Washington Capitals, only the best team in the NHL standings.
To predict a win would be silly. To predict a close game, even, would be ill-advised.
Leafs 5 Capitals 2.
I'm crazy like that.
Dion will make the trip and practice with the team but is not supposed to play tonight or Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
Also the Jays have traded Shawn Marcum.
That's all I got.
Friday, December 03, 2010
The theory of relativity....
Ugly here in Ottawa. Sounds like its uglier in Toronto.
For as ugly it is in Ottawa right now we know it's far worse down in Hogtown.
McGuire said this morning that he wouldn't trade rosters - but just because of Cowen, Rundblad, and Weircioch? That's a little too close for comfort!
It's days like this we need to remind Leaf fans of THIS.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Back from vacation just in time to start winning?
More so than being a Leaf or a Sens fan by what I could cobble together from drunken wifi looks at scores and standings while I was away huh?
I did watch the 2nd and 3rd period of Leafs/Sens on my laptop in the hotel lobby. Couldn't miss that. Otherwise I laid in the sun, cut my elbow open playing beach volleyball and tore something in my elbow playing ping pong. It's a good thing I don't drink and play hockey too...
I figure I'm back just in time to see the Leafs take 5 of 6 points this week and maybe a phone company purchase my favourite hockey team.