Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mats Sundin Update

Mats is coming to Toronto but no to play for the Leafs.

JP Barry was just interviewed on Fan 590 and stated that his client Mats Sundin will be in Toronto September 5th to participate in a charity game being played for the Right to Play organization.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lightning owners strike again

On Thursday night the Hockey News came out with a story that the Ottawa Senators and Andrej Meszaros had hit a contract impasse after being unable to come to an agreement all summer. The Hockey News was reporting that an unknown team had made a multi-year offer to Meszaros with an average annual salary of $5 million. It was rumoured to be those crazy guys running Tampa Bay.

Word just got out that it was Tampa Bay. Following a frantic Friday which included talks of offer sheets, numerous names thrown about as trade bait and the possibility of another team entering the equation as part of a three-way deal, the Senators and Lightning finally came to a consensus.

The Senators traded Meszaros to the Lightning for defencemen Filip Kuba and Alexandre Picard, with a first-round draft pick - while saving a few dollars in the process.

When talk originally surfaced of the Lightning presenting Meszaros with an offer sheet in excess of $5 million per season late Thursday, it was unlikely the Senators would match the offer. The Senators would have been content with the first, second and third round draft picks in 2009 that the Lightning would have been forced to cough up for raiding the Senators of a restricted free agent.

However, that Lightning plan hit a snag because the club had previously traded away their third-round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins. While it's believed the Lightning tried to re-acquire the third-round selection on Friday, they were rebuffed by the Penguins.

It's quite possible that Lightning owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie as well as their GM Brian Lawton did not realize you need to have the necessary draft picks on hand when you make an offer sheet.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A recent call to Mats Sundin

A recent telephone conversation between Mats Sundin and his North American agent P.J. Barry.

Barry: So Mats you’re sounding well.

Sundin: you too J.P.

Barry: I was hoping we could have a chat about where the summer has taken you.

Sundin: For sure. I had a great vacation in Barcelona. I just love the Spanish beaches. And the fishing is outstanding. Played a lot of golf. We’ve had a really good summer here. Josephine and I have spent a lot of time decorating our home.

Barry: I was thinking more about your hockey career. I got a call from Cliff Fletcher this week.

Sundin: Cliff is such a great guy. We go back a long way. I was so happy to see him come back to Toronto and think the changes he has made will turn around this team in the next 2 year. I hear Cujo is back.

Barry: So does that mean you are thinking about re-signing with the Leafs?

Sundin: I don’t know.

Barry: I also heard from Mike Gillis.

Sundin: I hear Mike is a great guy from teammates that have used him as an agent. They were really sorry to hear he had left the business. I know he doesn’t have management experience but don’t be surprised if Vancouver challenges in the West. Hey they got the best goalie in the world with Luongo. And that offer they made me was mind blowing.

Barry: So does that mean you are thinking about signing with the Canucks?

Sundin: I don’t know.

Barry: Glen Sather has sent me 5 or 6 text messages this month on updates.

Sundin: I am really in awe of that guy. He has done so much for the game. Look at all those Stanley Cups. The great players he has coached over the years. You could learn a lot from a guy like that. And New York is such an exciting city to play and live in. It sort of reminds me of Toronto but bigger.

Barry: So does that mean you are thinking about signing with the Rangers?

Sundin: I don’t know.

Barry: I ran into Bob Gainey last weekend playing golf. He asked if anything was happening.

Sundin: Hey Bob is such a great guy. I had some awesome discussions with him in June. Can you believe the young talent he has put together? I really enjoyed playing Montreal last season. It’s scary to think what they might do this year.

Barry: So you have decided to sign with Montreal?

Sundin: I don’t know.

Barry: Well August is over in a few days and training camps are opening next week.

Sundin: Hey I got to run over to Pottery Barn with Josephine. Give me a call some time next month. It was great talking to you.

Barry: Take care. Bye.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What did you do for your summer vacation?


Christian Rusu will have quite the story to tell when he goes back to Broadview Public School with his Grade 8 class next week.

One minute late Monday morning, the 13-year-old house league goaltender was laughing with his friends, taking off his equipment in the dressing room after a hockey camp session at the Bell Sensplex.

The next minute, he was back on the ice, facing shots from the Ottawa Senators' Chris Kelly, Chris Neil, Chris Phillips, Shean Donovan, Anton Volchenkov and Jason Smith and several other National Hockey League players.

While NHL training camps don't begin until mid-September, many players have already returned to the ice for informal pick-up games to get ready for the season.

However, one of the expected goaltenders failed to show on Monday so the call went out for an immediate replacement.
Enter Christian.

As he put his equipment back on, he could hear the sounds of NHL players warming up, their heavy shots ringing off goal-posts and crossbars and echoing off the end boards, no doubt wondering what he was getting himself into.

more here

His face says otherwise....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mats Sundin Update

Mats has flown to Copenhagen to act as Grand Marshall for the International Snakes and Ladders Championships.

Howard Berger is such a homer

Here are the predictions of Howard Berger of the FAN590. I guess over the summer he has forgotten that Cujo is back.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1. PITTSBURGH 107 pts.

2. MONTREAL 104 pts.

3. WASHINGTON 100 pts.

4. OTTAWA 103 pts.

5. PHILADELPHIA 96 pts.

6. NEW YORK RANGERS 93 pts.

7. BUFFALO 92 pts.

8. TAMPA BAY 91 pts.

9. CAROLINA 88 pts.

10. NEW JERSEY 86 pts.

11. BOSTON 85 pts.

12. FLORIDA 83 pts.

13. ATLANTA 76 pts.

14. TORONTO 73 pts.

15. NEW YORK ISLANDERS 69 pts.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. SAN JOSE 114 pts.

2. DETROIT 111 pts.

3. CALGARY 100 pts.

4. ANAHEIM 104 pts.

5. DALLAS 100 pts.

6. COLORADO 97 pts.

7. MINNESOTA 95 pts.

8. EDMONTON 93 pts.

9. CHICAGO 91 pts.

10. PHOENIX 89 pts.

11. VANCOUVER 88 pts.

12. NASHVILLE 85 pts.

13. COLUMBUS 82 pts.

14. ST. LOUIS 79 pts.

15. LOS ANGELES 74 pts.

Early NHL predictions

Here are the predictions from McKeen's Hockey and The Hockey News in their annual magazines. So far the pundits are not impressed by the off season moves by the Leafs unless you are shooting for Tavares lottery.

Eastern Conference

McKeen's Hockey The Hockey News
1 Montreal* Montreal*
2 Pittsburgh* Pittsburgh*
3 Philadelphia Washington*
4 Washington* Philadelphia
5 NY Rangers Ottawa
6 Boston NY Rangers
7 Ottawa New Jersey
8 Carolina Carolina
9 New Jersey Tampa Bay
10 Tampa Bay Boston
11 Buffalo Buffalo
12 Florida Florida
13 Toronto Atlanta
14 NY Islanders Toronto
15 Atlanta NY Islanders



Western Conference

McKeen's Hockey The Hockey News
1 Detroit* Detroit*
2 Dallas* San Jose*
3 San Jose Minnesota*
4 Calgary* Dallas
5 Edmonton Anaheim
6 Chicago Edmonton
7 Anaheim Chicago
8 Vancouver Calgary
9 Colorado Nashville
10 Minnesota Phoenix
11 Phoenix Vancouver
12 St. Louis Columbus
13 Columbus Los Angeles
14 Nashville Colorado
15 Los Angeles St. Louis
*- division winners

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mats Sundin Update

Mats and Josephine hit the hiking trails in Kungsleden until it began to rain. So they headed off to Drottninggatan for the rest of the day for some shopping.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mats Sundin Update

Mats traveled down to Barcelona for some deep sea fishing and beer for the weekend. Didn't get around to returning Cliff Fletcher's call.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm guessing there's no parking

Olympic Memory: Eric the "Eel"



In 2000 a young man named Eric Moussambani from Equatorial Guinea qualified for the Sydney Games through a "wild card." The wild card was designed to encourage developing countries without expensive training facilities to get more involved in Olympic sports.

"The Eel" learned to swim eight months prior to the Olympics. He was 22-years-old. He learned and sort-of-practiced in a hotel pool. One of only two pools in all of Equatorial Guinea. Before the Olympics, Moussambani had never even seen a 50 meter sized pool, let alone swim in one.

As "The Eel" was ready to swim his ceremonial heat, his two competitors false started. They were disqualified. So Moussambani swam the race alone. While his time was twice the Olympic standard, he displayed the true Olympic spirit. "The Eel" gave it everything he had.

Mats Sundin Update

Today Sundin enrolled in a cooking class. During the class he prepared chicken kiev, hearts of palm salad and creme brule. After the class Sundin met a friend for a beer.

Why can't all instructions be so clear?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Photo Finish in Women's 100 M Hurdles


Canada's Priscilla Lopes-Schliep wins the bronze by a whisker. 2/1o0th of second between 2nd and 6th place.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mats Sundin Update

Hey another golf day for Mats. He spoke to his North American agent P.J. Barry from the golf course to find out about the weather in Canada.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

You don't see a lot of signs like this



Most hated Maple Leaf players

OK, you had your chance to vote and here is the all-time despised Maple Leaf players.



At starting goalie is Andrew Raycroft with his cement trapper and the gapping five hole. Raycroft managed to set a team records in wins but lost his starting job the following season. Next season he will be breaking the hearts of Colorado fans.













Bryan Marchment makes the team on defense. Despite playing only one season on the Leafs just prior to the lockout, he obviously impressed Leafs fans with ability to take out players at the knees and his 13 league suspensions. After the Leafs he moved on to Calgary where he ended his career with an impressive 2307 penalty minutes and 40 goals.






The other starting defenseman is Finish great - Aki Berg. The slow footed Berg used to delight Leaf fans with his puck carrying skills and this laser passes to opposition players. Berg played just over 3 seasons with the Leafs before returning to Finland. He was drafted 3rd overall by the Kings and scored an impressive 15 goals in the NHL.









The starting centre is Dmitri Khristick who was best known for being released as a free agent in 1999 by the Bruins rather than pay the $2.8 million that an arbitrator set as his salary. The Leafs signed him to a four-year, $10.29-million contract. He was the invisible and manged only 15 goals over 80 games before he was shipped off to Washington.








On left wing is Swede Jonas Hogland who scored 29 goals in his first season with the Leafs. He was best remembered for expecting Mats Sundin to carry Hogland on his back for 4 seasons. Hogland was often seen disappearing whenever not playing with Sundin.





Finally on right wing is John Kordic who in a brief career with the Leafs managed 446 penalty minutes in just 104 games. Hard to believe you get into so many fights from the end of the Leaf bench. Kordic helped establish Gord Stellick as a big league manager when he came to the Leafs in 1988 for Russ Courtnall. He will be best remembered for the day in 1992, when several police officers were called in to restrain Kordic, who was trashing a room at the Motel Maxim in Quebec City. He died in the struggle.

Mats Sundin Update

Mats tried to look for Cliff Fletcher's phone number but couldn't find it. He eventually gave up and headed off for a manicure and pedicure appointment.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another Mats Sundin Update

Mats worked out at the gym today and went for light skate. Then he and Josephine went to listen to indie bands at Debaser Slussen.

Why trading Bryan McCabe makes sense


he rationale for trading Bryan McCabe is plain and simple. The Maple Leafs have too many big salaries on their defense with McCabe ($5.75 million), Kubina ($5.0), Kaberle ($4.25) and Finger ($3.5). McCabe carries the biggest hit and may not even be in the top two. You can't justify paying that kind of money to a defenseman on the second pairing and it will ensure that you remain undermanned on offense.

McCabe's salary over the next 3 seasons is $4.1 million. Considering what free agent defensemen signed for this past summer, he is no longer in the ranks of the over paid. The new group is made up of Wade Redden, Brian Campbell, Mike Commodore, Mike Rozsival and Jeff Finger. But salary isn't the main issue when it comes to McCabe - it's his salary cap hit. His cap hit remains at $5.75 million for the next 3 seasons. So for the Maple Leafs who are trying to create some cap space, it's a necessary move.

If they Leafs clear about $3 million in cap space in a trade and don't sign Sundin, they will be operating at about $10 million below the cap. That allows for some significant moves during the next offseason.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why isn't this an Olympic event?

Mats Sundin Update

Mats took off in the morning for a skate at the Globen Arena followed by lunch with Josephine at Cafe Kaffekoppen. Josephine dragged him furniture shopping in the afternoon at Svenskt Tenn.

New Drills for the Coming Season

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mats Sundin Update

Mats was seen heading off with his golf clubs in the morning. Returned in the afternoon for a massage appointment at his home. He picked up Josephine in the evening for dinner at StallmÀstaregÄrden.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Worst Leafs Over the Past 41 Years

I was discussing with some friends some of the useless players that wore Maple Leaf jerseys since their '67 Stanley Cup. Dimitri Khristich, Aki Berg, Jonas Hogland, Mikhael Tellqvist, Trevor Kidd, Bryan Marchment, Calle Johansson, and the list goes on and on. These players all played a part in ensuring 41 years of uninterupted futility. So it's time for another poll. Pick the worst Maple Leaf lineup. Have fun!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Next Captain of the Maple Leafs....Kaberle


Well my blog polling tells me that Tomas Kaberle should be the next captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Fifty percent of respondents picked the Czech defenseman who also has captained the Czech national team. Kaberle will be much like Sundin - a quiet type who will speak up when he finds it necessary. Respondents found the other choices to lacking in experience or leadership skills. I really think Kubina would make an even better captain the Kaberle. Matt Stajan received a lot of support but he just is not there yet. Although he has had a few stretches of good hockey, no one can claim he has had one strong season yet. Alex Steen had the least support and for good reason. I don't see a lot of passion in that kid.

Here is the final results:

Kaberle 50%
Stajan 17%
Rotate captains 12%
Majer 6%
Antropov 6%
Kubina 4%
Steen 2%

The Gretzky Trade: 20 Years Later


Yes it's been 20 years since Peter Pocklington traded away Canada's most prized asset - The Great One. The Oilers have never recovered, that's for sure. And I doubt the Kings would still be in the NHL if it wasn't for Gretzky. In fact I doubt we would have the NHL in Anaheim, Phoenix, Nashville, or Tampa Bay. The trade picked up interest south of the border and spurred expansion. The league quickly grew from 21 teams to the current 30.

Some say Gretzky out grew Edmonton. But the trade was more about money because Pocklington needed cash to keep his meat packing business going. Gretzky went to Los Angeles with Mike Krushelnyski and Marty McSorley for Jimmy Carson, Marin Gelinas, 3 first round picks and $15,000000. But at least the Oilers won one more Stanley Cup. The Kings have yet to win one.





Thursday, August 07, 2008

Mats Sundin Update

Mats got up early to play golf with friends. Had dinner at the club afterward.

Umm, that's perfectly clear

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

How many cheerleaders fit into an elevator?

It sounds like the beginning of a bar joke but it just so happens that 26 teenage cheerleaders had to be rescued from a tiny dormitory elevator in Texas this week.

The girls, who were attending a cheerleading camp in Austin, packed themselves into the elevator at 6:00 last night. They apparently exceeded its capacity, because when it reached the ground floor, the doors wouldn’t open.

Some of the girls made frantic cell phone calls, bringing police and firefighters to the dorm. Eventually, a repairman got there and got them out — after nearly half an hour of work.

In related news, scores of teenage boys are expected to be lining up outside an Austin, Texas dorm elevator at 5:58 tonight.

Mats Sundin Update

Mats slept late this morning and went for a swim before meeting Markus Naslund for lunch. Mats had a warm goat cheese salad and two glasses of Pinot Gris. No report on what Naslund had. Mats then headed over to the home of his fiance, Josephine Johansson for the rest of the day. No word on what he did there.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Old technology

Mats Sundin Update

Today Mats took his Saab in for repair, bought a couple sport shirts, had an afternoon nap, and invited his parents and fiance over for a BBQ.

Nothing else to report.

Friday, August 01, 2008

So who will be the next captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs?

It's August 1 and there is no news coming out of Stockholm. At this point no news is looking more like bad news. Mats Sundin didn't jump at the chance to play for a young, talented Montreal team with a legitimate shot at a Stanley Cup. Sundin didn't jump at the Vancouver offer which would have made him one of the highest paid player in the league. He hasn't decided to return to the Leafs to provide some leadership to an inexperienced, rebuilding team.

So it may be time for these teams to start looking ahead and moving on. For the Leafs that means figuring out what to do for a captain. No one player stands out. They may have a future captain in Luke Schemm but he may not even be ready for the NHL right now. Young players like Matt Stajan and Alex Steen haven't established the credentials needed to replace Sundin. If you look at the veteran players Nik Antropov, Thomas Kaberle, and Pavel Kubina, they are all possibilities yet each possess flaws as leaders. You could always rotate the "C" among these players for the time being.

I actually believed that Cliff Fletcher picked up Jamal Mayer from St. Louis to fill a leadership void until a younger player was ready to take on the captaincy. Rob Ramage assumed the role between 1989-91 until it was handed over to Wendel Clark.

So what do you think? Pick your choice for captain in the sidebar.