Sundin has yet to play a game for the Vancouver Canucks, and some say he never will, but if and when he does, we're sure that his first shift in a Canucks uniform will have the same thrill as a poker game! Since announcing that Mats would be ever-imminently joining the team, the Canucks have won 3 of their last 9, including the last 2 games, consecutive losses in OT. Once they get a true PokerStar at centre however, their odds, and the former Captain's fortunes, will improve. Fear not, true believers! Remember the Dream! He'll be back some day, just like the prophecy said.
McCabe, you're up next! Literally. If anybody wants to see Bryan back in Toronto, tonight's your night as the Leafs host the Panthers at the ACC. Toronto trails Florida by just 2 points in the standings, so this game has meaningful playoff/Tavares implications. McCabe has missed ten games this year and 10 of his 18 points have come on the Panthers' powerplay. One player I'd really like McCabe to run into while he's in town is Jonas Frogren. Hopefully they meet. I wish I could introduce them - this is how it would go: "Jonas meet Bryan. He used to play here and shoot the puck in our net. Now he doesn't. Yes, ours. Bryan, this is Jonas. He wears number 24 now. Jonas doesn't have a sissy can-opener, Jonas uses a Viking Death-grip! In Sweden, they call Jonas, Fridge! Jonas Can CRuSH the Can-OPENER!! HaHaHahahaha!!" I can't imagine anyone would vote for McCabe in the Poll, but honestly, I can't say I dislike him enough to not include him, so if you're a big McCabe fan, there you are, go nuts.
Alex Steen has found his game (are you kidding?) recently, and his numbers look a bit more respectable (seriously?) now. In his first 20 games with the Leafs, Alex had only 4 points, but now, he's suddenly picked up 3 goals and 8 assists for 11 points in 20 games with the Blues, including a goal and 2 assists on Saturday against the Blue Jackets. Meanwhile, Stempniak in Toronto is well off the point-a-game pace he was producing with St. Louis (13 points in 14 games), scoring just 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in his 19 games with the Leafs. Is this trade already a bust? Maybe Cliff can arrange a deal to get Steen back, sending over Stempniak again and, oh, this time - let's say - Stralman? Good to see Steen find his mojo a little. Too bad the Blues are by far the worst team in the West.
Carlo is not injured! There's still hope for me in the pool! Despite what was being widely and wildly reported, Carlo did not suffer from a lower-body bone explosion, at least, not one that effected him severely enough to keep him out of action. He was also on the ice for the Blues Saturday against the Blue Jackets, playing over 18 minutes and picking up an assist. In fact, yet another former Leaf was on the scoresheet that night, one whose name didn't make the poll list - Freddie Modin had a goal and an assist in a losing cause for Columbus. I thought of putting Modin on the list but then I thought no one would possibly want him back, would they? It'd just be a sabotage vote from non-Leafs fans. Anyways, vote for Carlo - I did.
No one's really saying much about Hal Gill these days. He's appeared in just 26 of Pittsburgh's 40 games and has just 2 points, both assists. Pittsburgh is in serious freefall, losing 5 in a row, 6 of their last 7, and being outscored in their last 4 games, 19-5. That's 19 goals against in 4 games, and 5 goals for in 4 games. This is the team with Malkin and Crosby the Crotch-Puncher, and yet Hal Gill was a healthy scratch for their last game. Let's get poor Hal out of there. He doesn't deserve the meltdown that's going to come to that team if they fall out of a playoff spot for long. Is there room for him on the Leafs? Probably not now, but maybe after a couple of moves have been made, bringin' Gill back to fill a hole could be possible. He gave an honest effort for Toronto last year, and I thought he distinguished himself with the Penguins in the playoffs.
This is the sentimental choice. The move that would pave the way for the retirement, the tribute night, the honouring of a great legend, the key to the luxury box fridge with the booze in it. Comeback opportunities. Endorsements. Cross-Promotion Concepts, Initiatives, and Strategies. Celebrity Golf Classics. Y'know, the Good Life. It's all waiting here for Darcy Tucker. He just has to throw that Leaf jersey on one more time. Even more awesome would be if he scored a goal on his first shift back and then made a classic Tucker angry-face and pushed both the opposing defenceman out of his way so he could celebrate by acknowledging the crowd. One of the great things about Tucker and the way he played, even if the Leafs were the visitors, he always acknowledged the crowd and played for his supporters. So far, after 20 votes, Darcy leads the voting with 5.
Wouldn't you love to see Kyle back in Toronto again? Not this year or next, I'm thinking more like when he's worn out and near the end of his career... so maybe next year actually. While his production has cooled off a little, he still leads the Canucks in powerplay goals with 8, but his 5 assists so far on the year (compared to his 14 goals) is a real head-scratcher. It'll be interesting to see how Kyle adapts to having Sundin in the locker room again. Will he continue to provide clutch scoring or will he eat a lot potato chips and get fat?
This option is a joke, right? Well, it is, except that so far this year Clemmenson has a 15-6-1 record with a 2.21 GAA and a stunning .924 save%. Unbelievable. He only started 2 games with the Leafs, but that's good enoughto make him a former Leaf and his numbers are good enough, that is to say, they're so much better then Toskala's it makes me want to cry, that I felt Clemmenson deserved to be up there. Maybe bringing Clemmenson back is, in reality, a ridiculous notion, but any votes for Scott will be regarded by me as a sign of general disapproval with the current Leaf goaltending situation and not actually a vote to bring back our old AHL backup.
Randy Wood won the last poll so he gets to come back for another. More people are more familiar with Cory Cross and Gary Valk's heroics then they are of Wood's, by nearly a 60% margin. This is your throw away vote if you want. I guess it could also be interpreted as a vote for nostalgia. Or it could be the opposite - meaning a vote for Wood represents "none of the above" and testifies to the absurdity of the whole idea. Well, either way, if you are going to vote for Randy Wood (again), take it seriously and consider the implications carefully.
Sir Gary should come home. I'm somewhat surprised that he hasn't already. He seems like a really well liked hockey player wherever he goes, but I like to think that in Toronto, we appreciate him the most. Tampa Bay is a dead-end and an unfortunate way to finish a career for Roberts. Thus far Roberts has only appeared in half (19) of the Lightning's 39 games, collecting just 3 points total (2G, 1A) this season. I guess it's the natural order of things, but I feel like players who have had great careers like Sir Gary has had, or Shanahan, or Sundin, should do their best to go out with a bang, for a team that appreciates the career that they've had and not just recognizes, but remembers their great contributions to the sport. Florida might be a nice place to go after retirement, but it's a sad place to watch a career go to die.
Thanks for participating everybody. My first poll in the summer took nearly a month to get 10 votes. In less then a week, this poll has already picked up 20, so this is sure to be an even bigger dynamite thrill-ride for democracy! Be sure to check in at the end of the NHL season to find out the winner!