And finally, a short video review of 2008.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
And finally, a short video review of 2008.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Each time her contention was that Sundin's pride was hurt and needed healing but was still keeping Toronto open as an option and that the Leafs weren't showing enough interest in bringing him back (or in generating a postive response to his return):
Here's another quote from Sundin that explains why he didn't select the Leafs, from way back in May (not that you can believe anything he might say beyond a 3 month limit):
Cliff might have made a pitch for Sundin, but he never got the green light. By the time Mats had sorted things out, the "new guy" was in town and Burke has no loyalty to Sundin. Door closed.
Finally, go screw yourself, princess is absolutely fair, because that's exactly what happened. Mats screwed with Mats. His indecision and melancholy has made him appear passive and weak. His inability to rescue the team from disaster last year is evidence of a lack of assertiveness and character. Almost nothing is left of the team that he once led, and for good reason. Now I have nothing against a Captain wanting to go down with his ship in a vain attempt at turning it around and getting it back on course, but when the ship sinks to the bottom of the ocean, I also have no problem with the owner of the boat company telling the Captain "go screw yourself if you think you're gonna get a raise".
Friday, December 19, 2008
"I would say from talking to Mats he has a soft spot for Toronto. We had lengthy conversations with him. Again, I don't think it was the right fit or right direction for us right now."
Mats Sundin, nothing left to live for, signs with Vancouver.
I don't believe this was his first choice. I believe this was his only choice. He deserved better. So did we. The real villains here are JFJ, Paul Maurice, and Raycroft, whose incompetence soured the atmosphere around the Maple Leafs so badly that virtually the entire team had to be torn apart and deconstructed.
Farewell, Mats. We won't forget. We will forgive. This wasn't your choice, or ours. I realize that now. It's just the way these things go sometimes. That's just the way it is. Doesn't mean it isn't brutal, but we'll get over it and pull through eventually. We always do. I'm not gonna wish you luck though. From now on, Mats, you're on your own. I hope Vancouver has an even more disasterous season this year then we did last year. It's nothing personal, Mats. I just hate the Canucks now. They're the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
This is going to feel like a long weekend, but not in a good way. I'm very happy with the way the Leafs played last night in Buffalo, and while I don't normally want them to play on back-to-back nights with travel, there's an aching desire to see them play tonight that won't be fulfilled. Except that it's not an aching desire, it's the natural order of things and the unpleasantness that I'm feeling is that order being disrupted. A Saturday night in December without the Maple Leafs is like Christmas without Santa. Like Halloween without candy. Like Wheel of Fortune without Vanna. It's like, what's the point? I waited all week for this. I had plans! I was going to watch hockey. And not just any hockey - not 2 boring conference rivals with marquee players battling for playoff positions - heck no, I was going to watch the Leafs! That's what I do every Saturday night in the winter. Those are my plans and I can't change them now.
This is a hot topic for me that I've touched on once before. Being "poor" means that I don't pay for cable, and that CBC is the only TV station I can watch that shows hockey, and Saturday nights are usually my only opportunity to see the Leafs play on "the big screen" (my TV) and not on my wife's Mac. This month alone, there are two Saturday nights, tomorrow and the 27th, that are devoid of Leaf hockey. December is a cold, and cruel month where the days keep getting shorter and darker. Enduring two Saturdays without the Leafs is unfair at this time of year and something need to be done to ease the suffering.
I think whatever the Leafs are doing Saturday night, the CBC should be covering it. As a Canadian taxpayer, I have a right to demand that CBC program what I want to watch, and on Saturday nights I want to watch the Leafs, even if they're not playing. Screw the NHL! And screw the Habs and the Senators as well. Whatever the Leafs are doing Saturday night, I wanna be there. It's not even about hockey. It's about me and the Leafs and Saturday nights.
So then I got to imagining what the Leafs might be doing. I doubt they'll all be hangin' out together, but it would be cool if they were. The CBC should do a show like that with all of them just hangin' out on a Saturday night in a big house, watching TV, watching hockey, talking about stuff... maybe not. An even better idea would be some sort of American Gladiators/Battle of the Network Stars/Extreme Elimination Challenge show, with all of the Leafs competing in hilarious obstacle course competitions. Man, that's like the best idea I've had in ages.
So what are the Leafs going to be doing Saturday while we're all not watching them? Here's a look at how they might take advantage of this rare Saturday Night Privacy (Hopefully this will inspire future fan-fic material from LD and Archimedes.):
Wilson: Would like to have a nice relaxing dinner and maybe go see a funny movie, and if you approach him and want to talk about hockey he will disintegrate you with his death stare.
White and Hollweg: Are gonna watch some old Kung-Fu movies, drink a few beers, and trade 'stache-grooming secrets.
Antropov and Ponikarovsky: A camera will be set up on a tripod. One will sit on one side of the room eating cheeseburgers and the other will sit on the other side of the room, also eating cheeseburgers. Then a conversation will take place, very slowly and deliberately, analyzing which cheeseburger was the most satisfying. Then they will realize that the lens cap was still on the camera and they'll have to do it all over again. Later, Ponikarovsky will vomit in the bathroom while Antropov watches motorcycle racing on satellite TV. The video, meanwhile, will be labeled "Antro/Poni/CheeseburgerDiscussion/Vol.459" and put in a vault with the others.
Moore and Mayers: Will be signing autographs, making public appearances, visiting children in hospitals and orphanages, also the mall, and generally letting people know who they are and reminding them that they play for the Maple Leafs.
Stajan: Will be at home smoking dope and reading comic books by himself. X-Men is his favorite, but he also likes Fantastic Four. Kaberle will try to call him around 10:30pm, but Stajan never picks up the phone after 9pm.
Kaberle and Kubina: Have plans to rent a movie and hang out but an honest misunderstanding with a hooker and her pimp prevents Kubina from ever making it to the video store. Around 10:30pm Kaberle gets tired of waiting for Kubina and calls Matt Stajan but there's no answer. Dejected, he goes home and decides to ride his exercise bicycle while counting backwards from 5000 to 1 and then goes to bed. The next morning, Kubina wakes up in his car, not sure what he's doing on a side street in Pickering, or why there's an extra 200 dollars in his wallet.
Blake: Will spend the night playing with his very own custom created Jason Blake Action Figure Doll with Fist-Pump Action-Arm, reminiscing about his greatest goals, and especially about the time that he would've punched a small child wearing a Leafs jersey in the face except for the glass that got in the way.
Hagman and Grabovski: Plan on making various mixed drinks using whatever exotic fruits they can manage to cut open. Grabovski is really the creative genius here while Hagman documents his art with still photography that he publishes on the internet.
Schenn: Will spend the night in meditation, cultivating the mystical and cosmic energies of the universe into one all-powerful force within him, ready to be unleashed at the appropriate time in the first round of the playoffs.
Frogren: Will host a great feast for his people, welcoming the various tribes of his clan with songs of glory and honour, and entertaining them with tales of conquest and debauchery.
Van Ryn, Mitchell, Kulemin, Toskala, Stralman, Sifers, Williams, Finger, and Cujo: Are going to get together for a game of open-air shinny, over at Withrow Park, which is right near my house. That's where I'll be too, playing alongside them in the cool night air, laughing joyously at the freedom of playing our own game, for ourselves, for fun. No refs, no score, no pressure, just the sounds of skates cutting through ice and pucks bangin' off boards echoing through the neighboorhood as we lose track of time and who we are, and play on and on until the lights go out at 11pm. Afterwards, our faces flush and glowing from the cold and the exercise, we'll all walk back to my house together. where, as I say goodnight, Van Ryn, Mitchell, Kulemin, Toskala, Stralman, Sifers, Williams, Finger, and Cujo will wave goodbye together, and break into a spontaneous chorus of He's A Jolly Good Fellow. As they turn and continue their merry way down the street, skates slung over sticks, resting comfortably on their shoulders, I notice Van Ryn extend a warm smile to Kulemin and say, "Don't you wish every Saturday could be like this?"
Into the night, go Leafs, go.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
2 - I agree with DGB - Kaberle's trade value will not go down - much. He's not playing well right now, but he's not playing his game at the moment either. A team that has the right pieces will make better use of Kaberle. Which leads to my next point -
3 - Kaberle misses Sundin more then anybody. Like Jari Kurri missing Wayne Gretzky, or Brett Hull missing Adam Oates. He has struggled all year long to find his groove. Perhaps, like some of us, he was hoping in the back of his mind that Sundin would return and that he would have someone else on the team to play with who sees the ice as well as he does. Suddenly, Burke says that pursuing Sundin doesn't make sense. How does that effect Kaberle, knowing that management has no immediate intentions of improving the team with superstar talent?
4 - Kaberle is an elite-level hockey player. He needs to play with other elite-level hockey players. It's depressing to be in a working environment with people who are not your professional equals. Seriously. If we're not going to sign Sundin we should trade Kaberle, 'cause he doesn't offer us a skill set we can use, and we don't offer him the tools he needs to succeed.
5 - It's next to impossible to play your best when you have to play with players that are so far below your skill level. You can literally see Kaberle trying to figure out how Jason Blake or Matt Stajan think. With Sundin and McCabe, it came naturally. He knew where they were, what they were going to do, and where they were going to go, and he could anticipate them making a great play - then he would make a great play - then they would make a great play again, and then we'd score. On this team, if Kaberle attempts to make a great play (which, by definition should be: a high-risk move, not easily anticipated), but his own teammates don't anticipate it or react fast enough, it becomes a high-risk blunder.
6 - Keep in mind that Kaberle is the greatest Leaf defenceman in more then a generation, since Salming and Turnbull. He is our Lidstrom, or Niedemayer, or Stevens. We will not replace him easily or soon. Luke Schenn will not replace Kaberle - they are totally different players. Tomas Kaberle only comes around once every so often and once he's gone, there won't be another.
7 - It wasn't all Kabby's fault in Phoenix or in San Jose. Antropov, Ponikarovsky, and Stajan all got killed against the Sharks. Poni got demoted to the third line, but Kabby gets benched for the whole first period of the following game. Then, on Kaberle's first shift, Antro's weak coverage at the point (reaching between his legs to catch the puck, I mean seriously WTF was that?) led to the odd-man rush, not Kaberle being out of position. On the 5th goal, Kaberle attempted to do what he's supposed to do, block a shot. He got his skate on the puck and it went right to a Phoenix player who slammed it into the empty net. Hardly a blunder, just unfortunate. The 6th goal was a turnover off a hard pass from Kaberle that hit Stajan in the skate. Now perhaps Tomas' pass is expected to be tape-to-tape, but where was Stajan's reaction? It's his responsibility, even if he can't control the puck, to deflect it, chip it - kick it if he has to - to get that puck out of the zone. Just letting it hit you while you continue to skate in the opposite direction, away from the play, is not the right reaction in that situation.
"It starts with me. I have to be hard on myself. I never had problems with any coach. And I don't want any problems... Obviously, it was hard," Kaberle said. "I take it seriously. That's the way it is. I have to keep my head up and get my ice time back."