Monday, April 30, 2007

Sandy Koufax Drafted by Israeli Baseball League


Jerusalem, Israel (AHN) - American baseball legend Sandy Kaufax was drafted last week to play for one of the six inaugural teams in Israel's newly-formed professional baseball league.

Kaufax, 71, was the last choice of the draft and will fill the final spot on the roster for Modi'in Miracle, which is managed by another former major league great, Art Shamsky.

Clearly, Kaufax's selection was meant as a tribute, but Shamsky indicated that if the legendary pitcher feels like taking the mound, no one is going to stop him.

"It's been 41 years between starts for him. If he's rested and ready to take the mound again, we want him on our team," Shamsky told the AP.

The Israeli league will begin play on June 24, with the teams playing a 45-game schedule.

Ferguson Appears to be Secure as GM

The announcement by the Leafs last week that they signed Boyd Devereaux to a 2-year contract is indication that the Leafs senior management has completed its year-end review and John Ferguson will remain at GM next season.

Although I'm not a Ferguson fan, a pragmatist view of the Leaf situation suggests that they have no choice at this point. With so many large contracts in place with no-trade provisions, replacing the GM is not a real option at this time. A new person will have no flexibility other than the ability to sign marginal players with low salaries (like Boyd Devereaux).

With Devereaux, the Leafs have 13 players signed for next season at just over $28 million. It's expected the NHL salary cap will rise from $44 to $47 million for next season. Key players who remain unsigned include Nik Antropov, Alex Ponikarovsky, Ian White, and Carlo Colaiacovo, all of whom should be contained to within $5 million.

If Sundin signs for around $6 million as I speculated previously, the Leafs' salary reaches $39 million, leaving some room to pursue free agents. Again, if Sundin gives the Leafs a break to beef up the roster, Ferguson will have more to work with. Then again, his tendency to date has been to overpay free agents.

Friday, April 27, 2007

World Premiere of DVD


Remember the premiere of the Midget B DVD is May 1 at 7:30. This is a year long project by team videographer Wayne G. I know that Wayne has brilliantly captured the drama, passion and humour of the incredible 06/07 season. You can't miss this event!

The Gretzky Girls are on the Cover of Chatelaine



...which you can read online if you are interested.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tough part is over, now the fun can begin

I think everyone would agree that the worst part of hockey is tryouts. It's not just tough on players and parents but not so much fun for coaches. Maybe some coaches have no problem cutting players but we hate it. It really is tough to tell a girl that you don't have a spot for her. Especially when she has just gone through a gut wrenching non-stop workout for the past hour. Last season was quite difficult because we had so few spots available but almost 40 girls who came out. This year the numbers were much more manageable but the quality was still there. Considering we had lost 10 3rd-year players, there were a lot of holes to fill.

This is a fairly young team. But its going to be a fast team - no weak skaters in this bunch. I think the way the girls responded during the 3 days of tryouts would suggest that this is a very coachable bunch. We expect this team can really develop through the fall. We have 3 3rd-year Midgets, 6 2nd-year Midgets, 6 1st-year Midgets and 1 Bantam age player. So welcome Rebecca, Jessica B, Kailee, Mari, Genevieve, Sherri, Bianca, Sarah-Kate, Lauren F, Lauren N, Jessica R, Amanda, Paitra, Jackie, Marley and Maryssa.

Can't wait for the fall to come!

2nd Round Playoff Predictions

EAST

Buffalo over NY Rangers in 5 games. This could end up being a one-sided match up. The Sabres have speed, scoring, defense and goaltending. And the Sabres are relatively healthy with incredible depth. Although the Rangers had an easy time with Atlanta and are well rested, the defense will have problems with the speedy Sabres. Henrik Lundqvist has been playing extremely well so give the edge to the Rangers in this department. They also have a lethal powerplay and super pest Sean Avery.

Ottawa over New Jersey in 7 games. Ottawa has the NHL's #2 offense but the Devils have Brodeur who has had a career season and is my candidate for league MVP. He started off slow in the 1st round but came on strong in the latter games. It will be a classic struggle between the flying Senators and the defensive-minded Devils.

WEST

San Jose over Detroit in 7 games. I'm going out on a limb on this one. Detroit has size, speed, defense and goaltending. But the Sharks can match that pretty much. Their defense is pretty green but the addition of Rivet has made a significant difference. You can't be much stronger up the middle with Thornton and Marleau. Evgeni Nabokov has been dynamite since taking over the starter's role full time down the stretch and I think San Jose actually has the edge here.

Anaheim over Vancouver in 5 games. This is a series that could easily be a sweep but Luongo is bound to steal a game here. The Canucks had trouble with the Stars and their top players have disappeared in the playoffs. Meanwhile the Ducks have two of the very best in the league in Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger, and it's rare that either one is not on the ice at any point in the game. The team is can play it any way. They can match teams with speed and scoring and the have the banger to play a physical game. This team is built for a long playoff run.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sam Mitchell Named NBA's Coach of the Year


No, it's not hockey, but this is certainly worth noting. This is a really compelling story if only for going from the perceived 'worst' coach to the 'best' in such a short time.

Let that be a lesson for the girls in Storm Nation. You can turn things around with the right attitude and work ethic.

My 1st Round Predictions

So how did I do in my first round predictions?


Eastern Conference
Buffalo in 5 >> Buffalo in 5
New Jersey in 6 >> New Jersey in 6
Rangers in 7 >> Rangers in 4
Ottawa in 6 >> Ottawa in 5


Western Conference
Calgary in 7 >> Detroit in 6
Minnesota in 7 >> Anaheim in 5
Vancouver in 6 >> Vancouver in 7
San Jose in 6 >> San Jose in 5




My 2007 playoff results: 6-2
Maggie the monkey: 4-4

Not so sure dummies should be teaching kids

Monday, April 23, 2007

How much does Sundin want to win a Stanley Cup?

So why is Mats always smiling? Well, over the course of his NHL career, Mats Sundin has earned somewhere in excess of $68 million, almost all of it with the Leafs.

Supposedly Leaf management and Sundin are tearing up his option and working out a new deal (which is allowed under the collective agreement). Now at every opportunity Mats re-iterates that his goal is to end his career here in Toronto and win a Stanley Cup.

As I see it, he has his chance to put his money where his mouth is.

The deal is straightforward. Sundin gives up the $5.3 million option on his deal for next year, one that carries a $6.3 million salary hit against the cap. In return he will likely get more money - maybe $5.8 million for each of perhaps 2 years, giving the club a bit of a break on the cap. So he make $500,000 more but the teams saves $500,000 on the cap.

But if Sundin is really serious about helping the team win the Cup, he could take a much bigger pay cut, and in so doing help the Leafs sign more quality players this summer. Let's say he agreed to $1.5 million a year. That would free up $4.8 million for the club to spend on another player. A pretty good player.

Or he can free up a piddly $500,000 that buys you a broken down has-been
.
A large pay cut would be spectacular goodwill on Sundin's part, but not totally without precedent. Last year Martin Brodeur signed a six-year deal with the Devils that pays him $5.2 million per season. A pretty good deal for the best goalie on the planet.

If you recall in 2003, Paul Kariya absorbed the single largest pay cut in the NHL history when he agreed to a one-year, $1.2 million deal with Colorado after making $10 million the previous season with Anaheim. Kariya wanted to play with Teemu Selanne in Denver and there were only so many dollars available in the pre-cap era, and so he helped the Avalanche make it happen.

So how much does Sundin want to help the Leafs? He probably doesn't need the money and a Cup ring would look good on his finger.

Why You Should Stay in School


Worst Pole Vault Ever


Saturday, April 21, 2007

NHL Substance Abuse Policy Catches Somebody

The second season of the NHL's testing for steroids and other performance enhancing drugs is almost over and, until yesterday, it had never caught anyone. This is despite the fact that the 2006 pre-Olympic drug testing caught two NHLers.

The NHL had claimed that the lack of any positive tests proved that there was no steroid problem in the NHL. This claim is unbelievable based on the Olympic drug tests and admissions by several NHL players.

The first person to fail a drug test administered by the NHL is Sean Hill of the New York Islanders. He is a 37 year old defenceman who has never been an NHL star. He played a regular role on the Islander defence, but was only one game from playoff elimination when the positive test was announced. He is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and his 20 game suspension (game one was last night's playoff game - 19 games remain) may be enough to end his career.

The truly cynical side of me says that the way to "prove" the NHL drug testing works is to sacrifice one or two bit players at the end of their careers to positive tests. Sean Hill would definitely fit this description.

Meanwhile "headhunters" for the most part get off easier than drug users. With the exception of the 25-game suspension handed out to Chris Simon for his senseless shot in the head to Ryan Hollweg, players who jeopardize the careers of their peers get off easy (e.g., Janssen's hit on Kaberle).

Brodeur is Great

Martin Brodeur once again pushed an opponent to the brink last night as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Tampa Bay Lightening 3-0. The Lightning were clearly the better team as they outshot the Devils 31-14 but that did stop Brodeur from achieving his 22nd career playoff shutout. Brodeur is now one shutout away from putting his name next to Patrick Roy for most playoff shutouts in a career. The win was also the 92nd of his playoff career, tying him for No. 2 with Grant Fuhr.

In hockey, goaltending can carry you a long way. Are you listening JFJ?

The Girls Looked Lovely Last Night




More pictures can be found here.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Milestone

STORM NATION HAS 5,000th HIT!

Blog on Storm Nation!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Leaf Prospects

If you are counting on Maple Leaf prospects to make the team playoff contenders next season - don't count on it. The top prospect in the system is likely Justin Pogge, the Leafs' first draft pick (90th overall) in 2004, who finished his first season as a pro for the Marlies with a 19-25-0-2 record. He struggled early on but did improve in the last two months. He will not be ready for the NHL next season.

After that it really drops off. The Marlies top scorer was Erik Westrum (23-34-57) but he is 27 which is the same age as Leaf "rookie" John Pohl. Robbie Earl also a first year pro with the Marlies and a 6th round pick (187th overall) in 2004, had a decent rookie year (16-19-35) but is not ready for the Leafs.

Some veterans are on the bubble with the organization – Staffan Kronwall and Alexander Suglobov (3-10-13) because they haven't developed to the level that would warrant investing more development into them. The only other prospects are potential 4th liners like Ben Ondrus and Kris Newbury. Defenseman Karel Pilar has recovered from his health problems that kept him out of hockey for nearly 3 years. He joined the Marlies in March after playing in Europe. He would like to attempt a comeback next season.


The junior draft picks are also nothing to get excited about either. Jiri Tlusty who was their first pick in 2006 (13th overall) and has a long way to go before he can threaten for a NHL job. He played with Sault Ste. Marie where he was only 13-21-35. The Leafs had no first round pick in 2003 and 2004. Their 2005 first round, Tuukka Rask was traded to the Bruins for Raycroft.

Finalists for Coach of the Year

"Month of Lies"

Someone once described tryouts as the "Month of Lies". People will say anything when it comes to tryouts. I usually can't wait for it to be over. It's stressful for everyone - players, parents and coaches. Players want to play with their friends. What will the dressing room be like? Will these coaches be fair or will they have their favourites. Some people get what we call the "letter syndrome". All that is important is that they make a "AA" or "A" team. What they often find is the calibre of these teams can be poor and are they can be very uncompetitive.

Each year we have players from higher levels come down to play because they are tired of losing. I've seen parents take their daughters from one tryout to another to the point where they can't really skate very well because they are exhausted. It's no fun for coaches either. They hate having to tell players that haven't made the team. You hope that you make good decisions based on skill and team chemistry but how can you really evaluate someone properly based on drills done over an hour with 25 or more players on the ice. I've seen players who can do these drills very well but have no hockey sense. While others are not that flashy during the drills but turn out to be higher energy players during games. We try to get out to see other teams in our organization where you might draw players from so that you can have some idea what the players who may come to tryouts look like in games. When it's all finally over - the lies, the tears, the dealmaking, you can go back to playing hockey and having fun.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Daughter has bad game, Mom leaves her on side of the highway

From a police report:

A 42-year-old Lincoln, Nebraska mom was miffed about her daughter's poor play in a soccer game. On their drive home the girl flubbed the lines her mom had drilled into her on how to improve her game, so the mother slapped her daughter. The girl told her mom to pull over. The mom did, near the downtown Lincoln exit off Interstate 80.

The mom yelled at the girl to get out. When she did, her mom drove off. A teammate's parent spotted the girl alongside the interstate, stopped to pick her up, then took her to their home and called police.

Coach Bruce will be working on this dance for next season



Ryan Hollweg of the New York Rangers

Monday, April 16, 2007

Damion Cox's Blog

Today the Toronto Star's Damion Cox reflects on the death of June Callwood which occurred on the same weekend as the OWHA championships. His daughter played on the gold medal Midget A team from Ancaster. Here is his article.

North Metro Shootout Photos


Sunday, April 15, 2007

N.Y. Islanders' Owner

There has been a lot of chatter about the Islanders owner Charles Wang. He has been bludgeoned by media pundits and fans across the NHL landscape for being clueless and out of touch with reality with his 10-year contract for Alexi Yashin, the 15-year contract for Rick DiPietro and countless other moves.

The way that DiPietro has played this season provides Wang with some vindication. However, a recent revelation from former GM Mike Millbury provides an interesting twist. It was Wang who insisted that Millbury trade away Olli Jokinen and Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha and use the first pick in the draft to take DiPietro. Millbury indicated that he had intended to take Marian Gaborik with the first overall pick.

Both Parrish and Kvasha are now gone.
So yes DiPietro is finally playing some solid hockey. But instead of DiPietro, wouldn't the Islanders be better off with Luongo, Jokinen and Gaborik?

North York Storm AGM

Annual General Meeting
Monday May 14, 2007
Grandravine Community Centre
23 Grandravine Drive
Registration 7:00 PM
Meeting 7:30 PM

Final Provincial Midget B Results

Gold - Lambton Shores
Silver - Russell
Bronze - Lambeth


Semi-Finals
Lambton Shores 1
Lindsay 0

Russell 3
Lambeth 2

Gold Medal Game
Lambton Shore 3
Russell 0

Bronze Medal Game
Lambeth 2
Lindsay 1


Well it looks like Pool A ended up being the toughest grouping. I think we faired not that badly against the top 2 teams in the province. Congratulations Storm!


Full results available here.

Quarter-Final Results

Lambton Shores 2
Nepean 1

Lambeth 2
Mississauga 0

Walkerton 0
Linday 2

Temiskaming 0
Russell 1

Both Lambton Shores and Russell make it to the semi-finals.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Worst Refs in the History of Ever


I'm not known to be critical of on-ice officials. Not unlike the players, they have to make many instantaneous decisions throughout the course of a hockey game and are sometimes going to be wrong. But at a championships you expect a certain level of competence. Of course, it would have been nice if the referee had made the bus so we wouldn't have had to get by with only linesmen. Perhaps we wouldn't had the phantom whistle, strange penalties and our players used as pinatas by the opposition. Despite the frustration and disappointment, our girls continued to show the same poise, sportsmanship and resilience that they have shown all season. So at the end we lost 2-1 to Russell (maybe Renfrew Gerry knows where that is) and left the weekend without a win. Despite that we are all winners.

A year ago at tryouts, the coaches were of the view that this team was very special. Not because it was loaded with talent although that was there. But this was a collection of young ladies who believed in how the game should be played - by respecting opponents and officials, appreciating the opportunity to play this game, enjoying the competition, and not focusing on the score. People have made good friends and memories - these are thing that can last forever.
We coaches enjoy what we do which is what brings up back every year. This year was different. It was just that much better.

To the girls who will be leaving the team, we wish you only success and good fortune. You certainly have the tools to succeed in life. We didn't teach you that; your wonderful parents did. To the girls are plan to return to the team, we plan to have just as much fun next season. Each year is different because the personalities in the dressing change but we continue to operate by the same principles. If any of the girls would like to share their reflections on the season, you are welcome to do so in the comment section of this posting.

See you all at the banquet on Friday so we can continue to celebrate a wonderful year.

Febreeze is not just for hockey equipment

Friday, April 13, 2007

B Hockey Isn't Like This in North Metro

Lambton Shores is a community of under 3,000 outside of Sarnia. It always makes me wonder how such a small community can come up with so much good local talent. But they do. After crushing Russell by a score of 5-2 in the morning, Lambton Shore won again in the evening by defeating the Storm 5-1. They will easily qualify for the quarter-finals. That is not the case for the Storm who are virtually eliminated with 2 losses. In the other game, Russell defeated Orillia 1-0. But if the Storm beats Russell and Lambton Shores also wins then there would be a 3-way tie for 2nd place. That's one big "if".

The tie-breakers that would be used are:

1. Number of wins
2. Record against other tied teams
3. Goals score minus goals against in round robin play
4. Fewest goals allowed in round robin play
5. Most period won in round robin play

To just beat Russell in the tie-breaker, we would need to win by a margin of 3 goals. Then Orillia would need to lose by at least 5 goals.


Lambton clearly dominated the Storm with their size, speed and shooting. The Storm was able to hang on for about half the game but in a span of 2:40 Lambton scored 3 goals and put the game out of reach. The lone Storm goal was scored by Rebecca R. But to put things in perspective, the Storm's season lasted longer than the Leafs' season.


However, the 'apres hockey' party was hosted by the Traceys and it was clearly the highlight of the day. Richard got out his blender and began to pour pina coladas and margaritas, We were sure that the blender has died that weekend in Sarnia from overuse but there it was in the kitchen humming away.


Leaf Management's Lame Explanation

Leaf management put this poorly written letter in the Toronto Sun this week. Sigh. This is the best they can do.

Here's what the actual ad said:

Thank you for your unwavering support during the 2006-07 season.

We are disappointed that we didn't achieve our primary goal of advancing to the playoffs and competing for the Stanley Cup. It has been an exciting season, with several teams in an unprecedented battle for the few final playoff spots. You were with us every step of the way.

Leafs fans are the greatest fans in hockey. We share your disappointment. However, we accomplished much along the way that puts us in a great position moving forward to pick up those few points in the standings needed to reach that next level.

This season provided exciting win streaks that resulted from outstanding team play in the face of injury and adversity; the further development of our young players; memorable tributes to Leafs legends Borje Salming, Red Kelly, and Hap Day; and the reunion of the 1967 Stanley Cup Champions.

Preparations for next season are already underway. We know we will be better next year as so many of our younger players will have gained from the experience. Every member of our staff will work diligently in the weeks and months ahead to continue to move the team forward toward the ultimate goal of bringing the Cup back to Toronto.

We Knew It Would Be Tough

There are no easy games in Provincials. There aren't even going to be easy shifts. Even a team that you've beaten twice in the regular season is going to be a formidable opponent. Just ask Mississauga - they know oh so well.

So the Storm played a strong game this morning. The girls played hard but it wasn't enough as the Orillia goalie had a perfect game. We had more shots and more scoring chances but ended up on the wrong end of a 2-0 game. That is going to happen in hockey, it's part of the game.

So what can we do to move on in the competition? Well if we can work harder then we had better. We need to produce better quality scoring chances. We need to force the opponents to make some mistakes. We need to execute better. Most of all, we need some breaks.

But we are still alive.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Andrew Raycroft's Secret Revealed

Here is what is beneath Raycroft's mysterious exploding glove......








Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Don Cherry to appear on NBC

The loudest and most garish side show in Canada is being exported to the U.S. After 25 years on CBC's "Hockey Night In Canada', Don Cherry will make his U.S. broadcasting debut as part of NBC's Stanley Cup playoff telecasts. The "man in plaid" will team up with loud-mouth Brett Hull to provide "colour" to the NBC telecasts.

The Girls are Golden Again!


Canada reclaimed the women's world hockey championship with a 5-1 victory over the U.S.

Commemorative Mug



...to remember the 2006-07 Toronto Maple Leafs.

My Playoff Predictions

EAST

Buffalo over NY Islanders in 5 games. This appears to be the only one-sided match ups. The Sabres have speed, scoring, defense and goaltending. And the Sabres are finally healthy again with Connolly and Afinogenov back in the lineup. The Islanders qualified for the playoffs on the last day of the regular season in a shootout but no shootouts in the playoffs.

New Jersey over Tampa Bay in 6 games. Great scoring in Lecavalier and St. Louis but I don't think that will help much against Brodeur who has had a career season and is my candidate for league MVP. He had 12 shutouts in the regular season and I can see him adding a few more in the playoffs. The defense is solid and Matvichuk is back from a season long injury (partly because they had no cap space). The Devils can be beaten but it won't be by the Bolts.

NY Rangers over Atlanta in 7 games. The addition of Tkachuk and Zhitnik has given Atlanta a second scoring line and a mobile defenseman but they continue to struggle in their own end. The Rangers got hot at the end of the season because Lundqvist got hot. Shanahan has recovered from his injury and Jagr seems to have picked up his play. That should be enough to get by Atlanta.

Ottawa over Pittsburgh in 6 games. I know lots of people are picking Pittsburgh because they finished strong but so did Ottawa. Yes Pittsburgh has Crosby and Malkin but right now the pair aren't as good as Heatley and Spezza. Ottawa's top 4 defensemen are superior to the Penguin's top 4. Finally, I don't think Fleury is quite ready for prime time. Maybe next year.

West

Calgary over Detroit in 7 games. On paper this looks like a sure thing for Detroit but it's not. Calgary is much better than they were in 2004 when they made it to the finals. The Wings are in a very weak conference (Columbus, St. Louis and Chicago) while the Flames are in a very tough conference so their 96 points were much tougher to earn than the Wings' 113 points. This should be a great goalie series with Hasek and Kiprusoff facing each other.

Minnesota over Anaheim in 7 games. I'm predicting another upset in the West. Anaheim has been the at the top of the standing all season in the West and slipped back when Pronger got hurt. He is back and the Ducks will be tough. But Lemaire has his team playing just the way he likes. The Wild will strangle you defensively. Backstrom is this year's Cam Ward with an eye-popping 1.97 goals against average. Finally teaming up Demitra and Gaborik has finally provided the Wild with some creative offense.

Vancouver over Dallas in 6 games. This will be a very low scoring affair. Neither team has much scoring and both have great goalies but Turko has been a bust every year in the playoffs. The Canucks may be a one-line, one goalie team but with Turco's history that will be more than enough.

San Jose over Nashville in 7 games. This is the best first round matchup in West. Both teams have impressive forwards with oe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Jonathan Cheechoo lining up on one side and Steve Sullivan, Peter Forsberg, Jason Arnott, and Paul Kariya on the other side. Give the edge to Nahsville here. But the Sharks have the edge on defense. Both teams have good goaltending including good backups. In fact I would take either Mason or Toskala over Raycroft any day. I just think that at this point in their careers, it will be tougher to stop Thornton than Forsberg so the Sharks have the edge.

Worst Chip Flavours Ever

Toronto Maple Leaf Board of Directors getting together to decide the fate of the fabled franchise


Monday, April 09, 2007

Let's Get This Party Started


A couple of Florida Panthers got their off-season started in style, partying into the wee hours of Monday morning and ending up with a trip to the Miami-Dade County jail.

Goaltender Ed Belfour and winger Ville Peltonen "were at Nikki Beach around 1 a.m. when they were asked to leave for disorderly conduct. When the pair refused to leave, an officer responded to the scene." Nice to see Eddie acting his age.

This is where it gets good:
As the officer approached the men, Belfour got into a fighting position, and the two got into a scuffle, which forced the officer to taser Belfour.
Belfour was charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence, while Peltonen was booked on criminal mischief charges. There's no word on what bail was set at, though as long as it was less than $1 billion, Belfour would have presumably had it covered. I just love the Crazy Eddie stories.

Looking Ahead

I thought I'd provide a quick update on contract status and cap hits for the Leafs roster as I'm sure we'll all be playing armchair GM for the next few days.

The Leafs have a number of UFAs that they need to walk run away from and a surprising number of RFAs that should make for some interesting negotiations. They have $26.2 million committed to 13 NHL players. Assuming the cap is $48 million next year, they have about $20 million to spend on 10 players leaving $2 million as a contingency. Also, they have 8 players signed until 2009 or longer tying up $23.4 million in cap space. So JFJ or his replacement is stuck with the current core.

FORWARDS

PlayerPosStatus 06-07 Cap Hito7-08 Cap Hit
AntropovFUFA$1.07M---
BattagliaFUFA$500K---
DevereauxFUFA$450K---
GreenFUFA$500K---
KilgerFSigned to 2009 $900K $900K
NewburyFSigned to 2009 $450K$450K
OndrusFSigned to 2008$475K$475K
O'NeillFUFA$1.5M---
PecaFUFA$2.5M---
PerreaultFUFA$700K---
PohlFSigned to 2009$463K$463K
PonikarovskyFRFA$713---
StajanFSigned to 2008$875K$875K
SteenFSigned to 2008$901K$901K
TuckerFSigned to 2012$1.59M$3M
SundinF

Club option

$6.33MTBD
WellwoodF

Signed to 2008

$875K$875K
WestrumF

Signed to 2008

$463K$463K
WilliamsF

RFA

$507K---


Defence

PlayerPosStatus06-07 Cap Hito7-08 Cap Hit
BelakDSigned to 2008 $670K$670K
ColaiacovoDRFA$825K---
GillDSigned to 2009$2.075M$2.075M
HarrisonDRFA$450K---
KronwallDRFA $625---
KaberleDSigned to 2011 $4.25M$4.25M
KubinaDSigned to 2010$5M$5M
McCabeDSigned to 2011$5.75M$5.75M
WhiteDRFA$453K---
Wozniewski DSigned to 2008$463$463


Goalies

PlayerPosStatus06-07 Cap Hito7-08 Cap Hit
AubinGUFA$525K---
RaycroftGSigned to 2009 $2M$2M

Picture Says It All

New Raptor Centre?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Year in Review

Here are some stats on the year. They show a weakness in goaltending and overall team defense but we all know that already. The Leafs could score goals but it was spread out among all 4 lines and the defense. No player scored 30 or more goals. The Leafs were much better playing 5 on 5 but their powerplay dropped from 4th overall last season to 16th this season. The penalty killing was abysmal.

Team ranked 18th with 91 points
Team ranked 6th in goal scored with 258
Team ranked 25th in goal against with 269
Team ranked 17th in overtime and shootout with a 8-11 record
Powerplay ranked 16th
Powerplay gave up 11 short handed goals ranking 20th
Penalty killers ranked 27th
Scored on 3 short handed goals ranking 30th
Raycroft was 32nd in G.A.A. at 2.99
Raycroft was 36th in Save % with .893
Raycroft was 8th in wins with 37
Raycroft was 5th in losses with 25
Gill lead team in +/- with +11
Tucker had the worst +/- with -11
Team had 14 10-goal scores, 5 20-goal scorers, no 30- or 40-goal scorers
Bryan McCabe was 3rd in league in giveaways with 104
Sundin was 7th in league in shots on net with 321
Sundin was tied for 6th in league with 6 shootout goals
Tucker was 14th in league in powerplay goals with 15

Saturday Night Fright


...Andrew Raycroft's trapper glove.

Leafs Stay Alive for at Least One More Day

Wow!

What a game! I thought it was all over when Montreal scored 4 unanswered goals, including a natural hat trick, and Shakey Raycroft got pulled. Thought that was it.

Somehow the boys found a way.

It was a sloppy game with terrible goaltending, flukey goals, weak defensive play and still no goal by Sundin. Although the captain had game a great effort and lead with 8 shots and 3 assists. And yes they scored high on Raycroft's glove hand but it was Don Cherry not Harry Neale who claimed he didn't have a chance. In fact I thought the Leafs were finished on that second goal by the Canadiens which was a 40-foot wrist shot off of Raycroft's glove. I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out how he didn't catch it.

Leaf Nation will have to hope that the Devils take tomorrow's game seriously and beat the Islanders.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Last 'Must Win' Game of the Season

Watching the collapse against the Islanders on Thursday was painful. All those goals high on the glove hand. You could just hear Ted Nolan telling his players where to shoot before the game.

So it all comes down to the drama of a frozen Easter weekend.

The Leafs have to win tonight in regulation and the Islanders have to drop their remaining game against the Devils tomorrow, and Marty Brodeur might sit that one out. The Islanders beat the Flyers this afternoon to move ahead of the Leafs.

I just don't have a good feel about tonight. The Leafs’ inability to hold a lead, Raycroft’s inability to generate a key save when it’s needed most, the club’s lack of discipline and poor PK all coming together in the perfect storm to end a rather middling year.

Here are some more predictions:
  • Habs score high glove on Raycroft and Harry Neale says Raycroft “didn’t have a chance”
  • Neale/Cole says the next goal is important
  • Cole can’t remember a Canadien player’s name
  • Sundin scores to tie Sittler’s record

So when the collapse is completed and the death bell rings, the fingerpointing will start. First, it’ll start with the 1 or 2 games we should’ve won but didn’t in the final weeks. Well that’ll be easy. Then it’ll turn towards the players that disappeared off the radar when the going got tough.

Sundin who turned invisible in the last month. McCabe and his bogus contract.

Then it’ll zero in on the top shelf.

Ferguson, and his unwillingness to pull the trigger on a decent trade, dishing off Sundin for bona fide help now and in the future.

And we in Leaf Nation, the paltry ice minions that bleed blue, well, we’ll scrub the parade plans and redraw the route for next year.

Oh sure, there’s a slight chance we’ll squeak past the Habs and the Isles will falter. A very good chance actually. But where would that lead us? Down the path to temptation. Temptation to think this team is good enough. Temptation to think that Sundin is a true $6 million leader. Temptation to think McCabe is Norris material and our D is the stuff of legend.

Or would it be better that we lose tonight and put Ferguson’s head on the chopping block, cut Sundin loose, trim the dead wood, and regroup.

You decide.

I’m still looking for a sword to fall on.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Brodeur passes Bernie Parent for most season wins

Martin Brodeur has passed Bernie Parent for the most wins in a single season when he recorded his 48th win. A record that might deserve an asterisk since there no tied games in the NHL which mean more wins for goalies.

A prime example of the inflated win phenomenon is that a very ordinary Andrew Raycroft is tied with Ed Belfour at 37 wins for the Leaf single season record. Raycroft stands 7th in the league in wins which would be commendable except for the fact he is also 4th in the league in losses.

Embarrassed Leafs Fans Resort to Disguises

Thank Goodness

Natives are getting restless


My single thought about that poor excuse of a game on Long Island: The only goal that didn't beat Raycroft's glove was the empty net marker by Satan.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tie Domi Just Won't Go Away

I hate Tie Domi. I know I'm in the minority in Toronto but pulling on a Maple Leaf jersey doesn't qualify you for sainthood. Now that he is retired I wish he would just disappear. But that's not going to happen.

As a player he was a cheapshot artist who would show phony remorse when threatened with suspensions. He acted like he was a key component of the team although he sometimes only saw 4 minutes of ice time in games. He verbally abused reporters who wrote things he didn't like and always threatened to sue for libel.

Outside of hockey, not much is different. His ex-wife claims he abused her. He may lied on the stand during the MFP inquiry to clear his brother of potential bribery charges (obviously I can't prove it). Now it comes out that his son's hockey coach accuses him of verbal abuse and Domi is again threatening to sue.

I hope he doesn't sue me.

No such thing as Zamboni DWI

Zamboni operator John Peragallo had been charged with drunken driving in 2005 after a fellow employee at the Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown, New Jersey told police the machine was speeding and nearly crashed into the boards. Police said Peragallo's blood alcohol level was 0.12 percent. A level of 0.08 is considered legally drunk in New Jersey.

A judge ruled Zamonis aren't motor vehicles because they aren't useable on highways and can't carry passengers so he can't be convicted of drunk driving.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Kyle Wellwood is a gentleman

Kyle Wellwood has played 45 games this season and has not received a single penalty. In the NHL that is quite an accomplishment. If he had appeared in more games he would likely be a leading contender to win the Lady Bying Trophy awarded to the player who shows the best sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with performance in play. But Kyle has played this way for most of his hockey career. In 127 NHL games he has 14 penalty minutes. In 156 AHL games he has 26 minutes in penalties. In 244 OHL games he has just 42 minutes in penalties.

CAREER STATS
Year Team Lea GP G A Pts +/- PIM S S% PPG
2006-07 Toronto NHL 45 11 29 40 +2 0 96 11.5 0.89
2005-06 Toronto NHL 81 11 34 45 E 14 117 9.4 0.56
2004-05 St. John's AHL 80 38 49 87 +11 20 184 20.7 1.09
2003-04 Toronto NHL 1 0 0 0 -1 0 1 0.0 0.00

St. John's AHL 76 20 35 55 -14 6 140 14.3 0.72
2002-03 Windsor OHL 57 41 59 100 +18 0 - - 1.75
2001-02 Windsor OHL 26 14 21 35 +1 0 - - 1.35

Belleville OHL 28 16 24 40 E 4 - - 1.43

Total Bel/Wsr OHL 54 30 45 75 +1 4 - - 1.39
2000-01 Belleville OHL 68 35 83 118 +47 24 - - 1.74
1999-00 Belleville OHL 65 14 37 51 +18 14 - - 0.78
1998-99 Tecumse OJHL-B 51 22 41 63 - 12 - - 1.24
TOTAL NHL 127 22 63 85 +1 14 214 10.2 0.67

AHL 156 58 84 142 -3 26 324 17.9 0.91

OHL 244 120 224 344 +84 42 - - 1.41

OJHL-B 51 22 41 63 - 12 - - 1.24