Friday, July 11, 2008

The Dream Team (Part 1): The Forward Lines

Hello, and welcome to a special edition of just your usual general borschevsky! Today we take a look at some of my favorite Leaf players from my generation, and introduce the modern Maple Leafs Dream Team. First up, the forwards, and a look at possible line combinations (if all these players were in their prime and on the team at the same time).

Dave Andreychuk-Doug Gilmour-Wendel Clark. This is not a fantasy-line. This was reality. The default line for the Leafs on Sega '95, there was maybe never a more dangerous combination of players in the Blue and White. If we're in the third period, and down by a goal, you can bet these 3 will be on the ice.

Alexander Mogilny-Mats Sundin-Nikolai Borschevsky. Mogilny is considered by some to have been Sundin's best linemate, and the only player with enough skill and intelligence to equal the captain's. Now add a healthy, youthful Borschevsky to this combo and you have a very cunning 2nd line and powerplay unit. With speed, creativity, and poise, the opposing D will be turned inside out as this line scores one highlight reel goal after the other.

Rick Vaive-Darryl Sittler-Darcy Tucker. This is my blue-collar line. These guys know hustle, know how to dig deep, and they aren't going to get run over by anybody. Sittler quarterbacks this line with his cool presence and ability to control the play. Tucker will grind the puck out of the corners and bang the front of the net, while Vaive is the trigger happy man in the slot, ready to snap home anything that comes his way.

Bill Berg-Alyn McCauley-Gary Roberts. The checking line. Who can forget the way Alyn McCauley raised his game in the 2002 playoffs? With Sundin injured, McCauley and Roberts led the Leafs to the Final Four in heroic fashion over the Sens in the second round. That performance raised McCauley's trade value immensely, and as a result, the Leafs were able to land Owen Nolan in the summer. Added to this tenacious pair is Bill Berg. His name was synonymous with "pest". Indeed, after Esa Tikkanen, Berg may be the league's second biggest "Super-Pest". He made a career out of irritating and frustrating the likes of Brutt Hull, Jeremy Roenick, and Mario Lemiuex, and he did it without the childish antics and trash talking that Avery is known for. Berg frustrated the opposition with subtlety and always had a "who me?" look on his face. These 3 players on their own could send the entire Ottawa Valley to anger-management classes for 12 weeks every summer.

Hope you all enjoyed and thanks for looking. Leave me a comment if there's a Leaf you think deserves mentioning. As long as nothing major happens this weekend (Sundin signs!), my next post will be The Dream Team (Part 2): Defencemen and Goalies. Cheers!


Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

great idea you got here. i'm going to have to think about who's missing, but one name that comes to mind is peter zezel. i always loved peter zezel. and mike foligno, too. both are 3rd or 4th line guys. but it's hard to remove any of the guys you've got on the first three lines.

i'll get back to you if i think of anybody else.

general borschevsky said...

Hey eyebleaf. If there was a 5th line, the Big Zee would be on it, for sure. McCauley beat him out. It came down to McCauley-Roberts as a better combo then Zezel-Berg (without Osbourne), but it was close.

Down Goes Brown said...

Nice job.

I'd probably move Roberts up to the third line in place of Tucker, and just go with Zezel/Berg/Osbourne as the checking line. Those guys kicked ass.

Frost said...

I really like the team you put together. Any chance of a historic Maple Leafs dream team. I also feel Leeman or McDonlad would be a better fit then Borschevsky (sorry).

bkblades said...

Good choice of lines. Love the McCauley pick, considering he's the ideal two-way player that Stajan only wishes he could be. I agree with Frost above me about a historic Maple Leafs dream team. Apps, Conacher, Teeder...I wouldn't bet against these guys even in the modern game.

By the way, where's John Kordic? ;)

general borschevsky said...

DGB: You might be right. Osbourne had a TV brought into the delivery room so he and his wife, his new-born, his family, and the hospital staff could watch a Leafs playoff game. That's devotion.
frost: Lanny, okay, but Leeman over Borschevsky? Never in a million years. Apologies are not required, but in this case, respectfully accepted.
bkblades: I thought about a role-player-type, enforcer, but it wouldn't be Kordic, it'd be Baumgartner.
Thanks for the comments, keep 'em coming. As far as a classic "all-time" Leafs team, for sure, I'd like to see that. Not sure I'm qualified to do it. Open challenge everybody.

bkblades said...

I was actually slightly kidding about Kordic. Gotta keep making appearances that the Courtnall for Kordic wasn't that bad. *sobs*

RickyBobby said...


No way u can leave him off this dream team. Take Bill berg out.