I'm expecting some disagreement here, and to be honest, I found picking the 6 defencemen way harder then choosing 12 forwards. A lot of very good defencemen have come to Toronto but were not very good Maple Leaf defencemen. Indeed, something about Toronto seems to repeatedly eat up decent defencemen and spit them back. Mathieu Schneider, Jeff Brown, Larry Murphy. Those are the worst of the best. But there's also Phil Housley, Jason Smith, and Kenny Johnson; fairly good defencemen whose impact was minimal. Then there's also popular Leaf defenders, Al Iafrate, Brad Marsh, and Luke Richardson, who never got to enjoy the Leafs' better days. And then finally, there's Bryan McCabe.
Tomas Kaberle-Dimitri Mironov. Kaberle is an obvious choice and doesn't need to be explained. Mironov, on the other hand, is actually my sixth defenceman, I just like the way he pairs up with Tomas. He's like a McCabe that girls don't laugh at. Mironov was called "Tree" because you needed an axe to take him down. His career statistics are not all that impressive, and he had his shortcomings, but in the '94 playoffs he put it all together. In 18 games, Mironov scored 6 goals and added 9 assists for 15 points. The choice was really between Dimitri and McCabe, and it was hard, but I just couldn't have a guy who shot the puck into his own net, and got rag-dolled by Zdeno Chara on my Dream Team.
Borje Salming-Sylvain Lefebvre. Borje is the King. One of the all-time greats, and one of my earliest favorite players. He has a map of the Don Valley Parkway on his face. That's devotion. Salming's conditioning and skill puts him in control of the play whenever he's on the ice. Lefebvre meanwhile, will be looking for anyone with their head down in the trolley tracks. Sylvain's a stay-at-home defenceman who cooks and takes care of the kids. If it wasn't for Lefebvre, and Joe Bowen's call of one magical moment, would DownGoesBrown still exist? Maybe then this blog wouldn't exist either, and you wouldn't be reading this post right now. Heavy, eh? In a weird way, we owe our thanks for this moment to Sylvain Lefebvre.
Todd Gill-Danny Markov. I'm expecting disagreement with this pairing, but I'm open to it. If you don't know why Todd Gill is on the team, you should read this. As for Markov, I just kinda like him. His stats don't do his performance credit. He was a poor man's Darius Kasparaitus. Tough, edgy, and combative, he was also an ambitious risk-taker. This pair is going to give up a lot of scoring chances, but they'll also be entertaining as hell. If Don Cherry wants Rock'em Sock'em hockey, these 2 will provide it. What they lack in common sense they make up for with their hustle and effort. With Gill and Markov's spirit and sacrifice, this Dream Team of millionaires will stay honest and won't go soft, or run from a fight.
Felix Potvin-Curtis Joseph. This was another tough one. I'm going to right a wrong done long ago by bringin' in Cujo, but I'm keeping the Cat as my starting goalie. Felix will start 60% of the games up to the trade deadline, and then we'll take Zigmund Palffy for whichever goalie the NYIslanders want. Honorable mention in this category goes to Mike Palmateer and Grant Fuhr. After the trade for Palffy, an 8th round pick should bring back Damien Rhodes. If you're looking for a "purely back-up" goaltender, he seemed like a really, really nice guy. I always liked him, and he liked us. Seriously, when has a back-up goalie ever cried after he got traded? In a bizarre 3-way deal with the NYIslanders and Senators, Rhodes and Wade Redden went to Ottawa while the Leafs landed Kirk Muller. Rhodes held a press conference to thank the city and to wish his teammates luck and softly wept for the cameras. C'mon back, kid. We didn't mean it.
The Coach: Pat Burns. The GM: Pat Quinn. The President: Cliff Fletcher. Serious hockey for serious minds only. If we stay within our system, the rest will take care of itself. Winning and losing is everyone's responsibility. We win as a team, and if we go down, we go down together. We back each other up and we don't get pushed around. Our goal is only to win the Stanley Cup.
The Owner: Me. Inherited form Harold Ballard due to a clerical error that no one ever noticed. Hey, it's my Dream Team!