Sunday, January 31, 2010

When is the rest of the Leaf roster getting traded?

Many Leaf fans have been so fed up over ineptness of the Maple Leafs that they have been suggested that the entire roster get dumped. Well Brian Burke did his best to meet that demand by trading away over 25% of the roster in two deals today.

I had planned to write a post today outlining what the Leafs greatest needs were and who they should deal away. Of course their greatest need is another goalie. That has now been addressed but with with a large cap hit. J.S. Guigere comes with a cap hit of $6 million. That can partially be swallowed by the loss of Jason Blake whose cap hit is $4 million.

I was going to suggest that the Leaf should attempt to move the line of Stajan-Ponikarovsky-Hagman. The first two were to become unrestricted free agents this summer and likely not worth the cost for a team that was deep into a rebuild. As for Hagman, at 30 his best contribution might also come in the form of prospects or draft picks. Only Ponikarovsky remains for now. He too may be moved because it may take $3.5 to $4 million to sign him to a contract. Not sure if he is worth it. A big man that rarely uses his big frame.

The only significant player traded by the Leafs was Ian White who arguably has been their best defenseman over the past two seasons. However, picking up Dion Phaneuf makes White expendable.

As for the numbers, the Leafs moved out $14,933,333 in cap space and received back $13,250,000 so it seems like a wash. However, when you consider only the contracts that don't expire this season, the Leafs moved out only $7 million so they have lost a lot of flexibility for next season. They have 15 players under contract for $48 million. That does not include Jonas Gustavsson, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Nik Kulemin, Garnet Exelby, Wayne Primeau, Mike van Ryn, John Mitchell and Lee Stempniak from their current roster. With a potential salary cap at around $50 million, Burke will need to unload some more contracts. Considering they have 7 defensemen on contract for next season totalling more than half the cap, it shouldn't be shock to see Tomas Kaberle traded during the off season. Hopefully, Jeff Finger as well.

How was that for a finish to the season?

It was a meaningless game since whether we won or lost, we would finish in 4th place and Durham would finish in 6th. However, it was played like everything was on the line and resulted in the most exciting game of the season. For almost three period the play was up and down the ice at tremendous speed and no score despite numerous scoring opportunities. The game opened with a end to end rush by a Lightning defenseman and that set the pace for the game. Both goalie were terrific and it looked like we see a scoreless tie reminicent of the game earlier in the month against Etobicoke. However with less that three minute in the game Amanda fired a shot at the Durham net that was stopped. The rebound bounced out to Gabby who banged at it; the shot was partially stopped by the Durham goalie but the puck went up in the air and floated over the goalie's out stretched trapper into the net behind her. It wasn't the prettiest goal but likely much appreciated by Paolina who earned her first win of the season on the last day of regulation play.

You never know when you put together a team in the spring how well it will come together in the new season, especially when you are absorbing nine new players. There were some growing pains this season but you have to admire the work ethic of this team. This will be a competitive team in the playoffs and if it remains largely intact next season, a force to be reckoned with.

Congratulations Storm!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Storm crash into 4th place

Bring on the playoffs! The Storm win their 3rd game out of 4 played this week to jump into a 4th place tie with the Ioi Storm team. Now a loss tomorrow would drop us back to 6th but either way this team is ready for the second season after a convincing 4-0 win against the Ioi Storm team. Today we won every battle for the puck and used both speed and size dominate the first two periods.

The first goal game off a rebound after Caitlin fired a high wrist stop that the goalie had problems handling. Maddie L was their to bang in the rebound. During the second period Maddie picked up a pass from Caitlin at the opposition blueline and powered her way towards the net. As she was falling from about 10 feet out with a defenseman draped over her, she fired the puck over the pads of the sprawling goalie. Before the period was up the line of Gabby, Skye and Genevieve were crashing the net and in the ensuing scramble, Skye banged the puck in the net. The final goal was scored by Caitlin with less than a minute remaining in the game on a breakaway off a feed from Maddie A.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ever wonder what impact there would be if shootout were eliminated?

If you received 2 points for a win (regulation or overtime), 1 for a tie and 0 for a loss, not much in the East would change. The largest differential in the standing would occur for Atlanta who would fall the spots. Most teams would not move at all.

Rank Team GP W L SOW N. Pts Rank Diff P Diff
1 Washington 53 35 12 4 66 0 -10
2 New Jersey 52 34 16 6 62 0 -8
3 Pittsburgh 55 33 21 6 60 1 -7
4 Buffalo 52 31 14 3 59 -1 -10
5 Ottawa 55 30 21 4 56 0 -8
6 Philadelphia 52 26 23 3 49 1 -6
7 NY Rangers 54 24 23 2 46 1 -9
8 Montreal 55 25 25 4 46 1 -9
9 Atlanta 53 24 21 4 44 -3 -12
10 Tampa Bay 52 22 20 2 42 1 -12
11 Florida 53 23 21 5 41 -1 -14
12 Islanders 54 23 23 6 40 0 -14
13 Boston 51 23 20 6 40 0 -14
14 Toronto 54 17 27 1 33 0 -11
15 Carolina 53 18 28 3 33 0 -10

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why the Maple Leafs stink

Under a salary cap there is only one way to build a winner in the NHL, through the draft. Every team has figured it out but the Maple Leafs. That is why at the 2009 trading deadline, only one deal was made for a first round draft pick. It is suicide in the NHL today to give away high draft picks. And the way teams lock up their few star players, you aren't going to get another crack at them as free agents (the Sedins, Rick Nash, etc). Every other team has figured it out but our Leafs.

Below are the five drafts since the lockout. Some rounds the Leafs have multiple picks as a result of trades. The players in blue are currently with the Leafs. The players in green are picks still in the Leaf system. The ones in red are the players picked up in trades for draft picks.






Round 1

Andrew Raycroft

Phillippe Paradis

Veas Toskala

Luke Schenn

Nazem Kadri

Round 2

Brian Leetch

Nikolai Kulemin

Vesa Toskala

James Hayes

Kenny Ryan

Jesse Blacker

Round 3

Phil Oreskovic

Jeff O’Neill

Dale Mitchell

Jamal Mayers

Jamie Devane

Round 4

Ron Francis

James Reimer

Korbinian Holzer

Matt Frattin

Ben Winnett

Mikhail Stefanovich

Vesa Toskala

Round 5

Alex Berry

Luke Richardson

Juraj Mikus

Greg Pateryn

Joel Champagne

Jerome Flaake

Eric Knodel

Round 6

John Pohl

Viktor Stalberg

Tyler Ruegsegger

Leo Komarov

Chris DiDomenico

Grant Rollheiser

Jerry D’Amigo

Round 7

Chad Rau

Chris Frank

Benn Ferriero

Carl Gunnarsson

Andrew MacWilliam

Barron Smith

I still don't believe he made this shot

The prank was set up perfectly. A high school girls' basketball coach in Kansas was told he'd win tickets to the Final Four if he hit a half-court shot while blindfolded. The crowd was instructed to scream wildly when his attempt inevitably failed (because, really, that shot is nearly impossible) so the coach would think the shot went in. For an instant ,he'd think he was Final-Four-bound and then the joke would be revealed. There was just one problem, though: He made it.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Brian Burke miracle isn't happening

Maybe the expectations were too high, but you can't get very excited about the 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs. It has to be pretty much accepted that this is the worst Leaf team since 1984-85. When Brian Burke suggested at the start of this season the Leafs would compete for a playoff spot it appears that either:
  • He had grossly overestimated the strength of his team (quite common in sports),
  • He is risk taker and things have not been going his way, or
  • He knew the team stunk and has been blowing a lot of smoke.

I'm not quite sure which is the case. Maybe a combination of all three. Here's how I see it.

The college free agents

After signing Hanson and Bozak as college free agents (and throw Gustavsson in with them), Burke declared that this group was the equivalent of 3 first round picks in the amateur draft. Now that is just a pile of crap, All three players were overlooked over the course of three draft years. That doesn't happen if these guys were that good. All three are well beyond 18 years of age and struggling to learn how to play in the NHL.

Unrestricte free agents

In addition to the college free agents, Burke went out and offered big contracts to Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin to strengthen the Leaf defense. Both players have been disappointments. But then both players were coming off of sub par years which were shortened by injuries. So is this a case of gambling or overestimating their value and ability?

The truculence factor

Part of Burke's plan was to change the culture on the Leafs by bringing in a group of tough players to fill out the bottom end of the lineup. So he sighed Colton Orr, Jay Rosehill and traded away Pavel Kubina for Garnet Exelby. No Leaf player is in the top 10 in the league in fighting majors. As a team the Leafs are 10th in fighting majors and 12th in penalty minutes. However, they also happen to be one of the worst penalty killing teams in the history of the NHL. As a result, the more physical game has mostly become a liability.


Goalies are fill the most important position in hockey and one of the more critical positions in sports. So Burke decides to hang his season on a veteran with chronic injuries coming off surgery and an unknown and unproven Swedish rookie who has never played in North America. Of couse perhaps Gustavsson might have had an entirely different season had he not undergone heart surgery twice. Some more bad luck or a poor read on his lineup.

Phil Kessel trade

This has to be an example of grossly overestimating both the team he has and the impact that Kessel would have. I am sure Burke was convinced that he was giving up two middle round first picks in the trade with Boston. That certainly would make the Kessel trade look pretty good. But Kessel has looked out of shape coming off of shoulder surgery and has not had a significant impact on the Leafs. Well you know how the rest of it goes. The Leafs are at the bottom of the standings and Boston stands to get a pretty good pick in 2010 and maybe the same in 2011. Meanwhile the Leafs cannot get significantly better without some young prospects to build around. This trade might make Leafs forget about the Raycroft trade very soon and that's not a good thing.

So what has worked out? Not too much. No free agent has stood out. His lineup has a number of players with big contracts and little production. The farm system is pretty barren. The Marlies are near the bottom of the standing and their top scorer is a fighter, Andre Deveaux. Their goalie of the future has some potentially serious health issues.

Brian we're waiting. Show us something.

Storm are moving on up

The Storm continue to slowly climb in the standing after a slow start to the season. A 2-1 win of the other team called the North Storm puts the real Storm into a 5th place tie with Durham West.

The game featured the wide-open, skating game that has been our calling card for some time now. There were several breakaways but unlike the night before, no one was able to capitlize. However, in the second period we finally took the lead. Kailee stripped the puck off an opponent deep in the offensive zone. She passed the puck to Alex in the corner who fed it through the crease to Genevieve who drove it home. Later in the same period Caitlin picked up a rebound in a scramble and fired the puck into an empty net.

Early in the third the game could have shifted the other way after we took two consecutive high sticking penalties. However, the penality killers did their job and no harm was done. Not until the last minute of the game when the other Storm team finally beat Bianca on a scramble with their goalie pulled.

Despite a short bench. the four defensemen, Paitra, Emma, Maddie A, and Skye, had strong games. As did Alex and Kailee who both finished with two assists each.

Alex drops out of the race for the Lady Byng Trophy

With 1:31 remaining in the second period tonight against Mississauga the unthinkable happened. Alex got a penalty. I'm not kidding! The game was stopped and the on-ice officials skated to the Storm bench to confirm that 88 was actually Alex and not some call up. And with that indiscretion, a little obstruction against 15 on the Chiefs and her clean record gone for good. I saw a tear form in the corner of Coach Bruce's eye though he will never admit that it happened.

As far as the game goes, well we lost 4-2. Pez honours went to Caitlin for a one-timer goal off a beautiful feed from Maddie L. while on the powerplay. Kailee fired a rebound off a shot by Amanda for the Storms' other goal.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Not the prettiest goal but they all count the same

Nothing like Leaside bashing to put a smile on your face

Remember that 5-0 pasting we took from Leaside early in the season? Sure we weren't playing well at the time but I did say they would pay for that. Well today they took on the chin by a score of 5-1 and add to that the previous 3-0 win over the Wildcats Pussycats, and I'd say we got them back pretty good.

This game had it all. All couple of powerplay goals by Caitlin and Alicia. Two pretty breakaway goals by Genevieve and Gabby. And a two goal performance by Alicia.

It gets a little tougher with games the next two days against Mississauga and that other North York team. We're short a couple of bodies but that shouldn't matter. This team is starting to find its stride now.

No breaks in Milton

Sometimes hard work just doesn't payoff. Just ask Ron Wilson. That was the story for the Storm on Saturday morning as they blew into Milton, were all over the Twisters but couldn't score when it counted. And just like the Maple Leafs found themselves in a 2-0 hole in the first period before beginning to climb out. Kaitlin did score a powerplay goal late in the first period to cut the lead down to one. However, a botched play in the Storm end led to another goal and the first period ended 3-1. In the second period Gabby closed the lead again but the tying goal never came. It was close though. With the goalie pulled, Caitlin hit the goal post with seconds left in the game. A disappointing 3-2 loss.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Is it time to name Ian White captain?

With all the talk about Tomas Kaberle and Matt Stajan having career years it has also been suggested that one of the two be named captain. Always over looked is the most under-rated yet most valuable player on the team, Ian White.

Although Kaberle is 4th in the NHL in scoring for defensemen with 43 points, White is tied for 7th in goal scored by defensemen with 9. However, White is a +4 while Kaberle is a -9, a 13-goal differential. That puts White in the top 75 defensemen for =/- which might not sound like a big deal but look at the goaltending be plays in front of. Kaberle is not even in the top 200. Their ice time is equal with over 23 minutes played per game but much of Kaberle's ice time is on the powerplay. On penalty kills and five-on-five you are more likely to see White on the ice. He seems to be out there in every key situation.

As for Matt Stajan, he has yet to prove he is a front line player. He is merely fill in as one until some more quality players arrive. So his career year may require an asterisk. In addition, his tenure on the Leafs is very much up in the air. Although Stajan may want to remain a Leaf, it's hard to say if management fells the same way.

Maybe no one is deserving of the captaincy at the moment but also no one is more deserving at this moment than Ian White.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Oh my! Carey Price gets drilled

They say goalies are fair targets if they leave their crease but I think their should be rules to protect them just as the NFL has for quarterbacks. Cam Janssen's hit was excessive and a penalty was called. But give Price credit, he peeled a teammate off of Janssen so he could get a piece of him.

Rangers stand around and watch their star player get mugged

Another soft team. Gaborik gets worked over by Carcillo and no teammate lifts a glove to help him. Sean Avery later goes after Carcillo and he wasn't on the ice when the incident occurred. But his teammates have no guts.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How about this shootout goal?

I wouldn't miss shootout if they eliminated it. It's become a show for players with trick shots that if they are effective only embarrass goalies. I can't see how that is good for the game and certainly shouldn't determine the outcome of a game and who makes the playoffs. Here is a classic example of what I'm taking about.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Controversial shootout goal

It's hard to believe you could have a controversy over a shootout goal (the NHL's biggest mistake) but here it is.

Leafs might as well start planning for next season now

Well the Maple Leafs remain in 14th place in the East and nine points out of a playoff berth. So it's about time to forget about how well you do this season and look to making next season end better than this one. That means stop fretting about how high the draft pick that goes to the Bruins for Phil Kessel. Watching the standings isn't really going to help.

Free agents

The Leafs have a boatload of restricted and unrestricted free agents including Gustavsson (RFA), Toskala (UFA), White (RFA), Exelby (UFA), Van Ryn (UFA), Hanson (RFA), Mitchell (RFA), Wallin (UFA), Primeau (UFA), Mayers (UFA), Kulemin (RFA), Stajan (UFA), Ponikarovsky (UFA), and Stempniak (UFA). Those you do not plan to keep or may price themselves too high (as was the case with Moore last season) you see if you can pick up a draft pick at the trading deadline. They might include Primeau, Mayers, Exelby for teams looking for some more toughness going into the playoffs. For those looking for scoring depth maybe Stempniak might help. The tougher decisions are on players like Ponikarovsky and Stajan. Statistically both are doing well enough to earn significant raises next season -certainly in excess of $3 million per season. But are they the types of players you want to build around. If not then an offer of a second round pick will find them on new teams in March.


The endless analysis of this Leaf team runs from coaching, to penalty killing, to shaky defense. But the Leaf lineup is not much different than 20 other teams in the league with the exception of goaltending. It has been abysmal. Had the goaltending held out, I have no doubt that the team would be fighting for a playoff spot. Both have shown to be no better than an adequate backup. You can get rid of both as the Flyers did in the offseason and start fresh. Though re-signing Gustavsson makes some sense. It has had a difficult season with his health and deserves further consideration. I think that Toskala will return to Europe to find his game. So the search for a bona fida starter continues. I would have rather handed over all those draft picks it took to get Kessel in order to acquire a top goalie.

The Youth

Most young players have not developed as far as we would have liked. The only exception has been Kulemin who has shown a combination of speed, physical play, defense and offense this year. However, Schenn, Bozak, Hanson, Gunnarsson, Gustavsson and Stulberg are going to take some time still. The problem is that there isn't much else in the system right now. Kadri will be given a shot at making the team next season but there isn't much else for a while.

Trading for draft picks

It's always a good idea to pick up draft picks when you're rebuilding but the Leafs have little to offer. When Stajan and Hagman were scoring they might have tempted some managers although neither would get you back a first round pick. But if they continue to play as they have in the last few weeks, second round picks may also be out of the question. Tomas Kaberle is the only player that might get back a first round pick. However, getting back a low first round pick from a contender is not going to provide much return. As well, he is the offensive catalyst on this team for some time to come. There is likely more value to the team by keeping him than by moving him.

Big name free agents

The Leafs will likely have some dollars to spend on free agents this summer. I'm sure everyone is thinking about Kovalchuk in a Leaf uniform. Without goaltending he isn't the cure and he will be very expensive. Burke's signings to stabilize the defense last summer were expensive and not very effective - though I think Bobby Orr couldn't cure the Leaf's goaltending. Rebuilding has to be through youth and cannot happen through free agency under a salary cap.

Twisters pay back Storm at home

Back in December the Storm dropped in at Milton to take on North Halton and stole a road game from the Twisters by a 1-0 score. Well the Twisters returned the favour Saturday at Risk arena by an identical 1-0 score. It was a real shame since it wasted a good goaltending effort by Paolina. She has now given up just 1 goal in straight games against the top two teams in the division.

The Storm had 4 powerplay opportunities but didn't move the puck well and created few good chances. The loss returns the Storm to below .500 and keeps the team in 6th place.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I see a pattern forming

The Leafs give up the first goal. They give up at least one powerplay goal. They badly out shoot the opposition. The Leafs lose. MLSE makes a healthy profit.

This might have been billed as the Battle for Taylor Hall...if they game had been played in Boston. Let's face it the Leafs are no longer playing for a playoff spot. They fighting off the embarrassment of having to hand over a lottery pick to the Bruins and failing miserably at that.

Incredibly the Leafs have now played 10 games this season in which they have had at least 40 shots on net and not won even one of those games. Only the most die hard Leaf fans can blame this on hot goaltending. The real explanation is bad goaltending - in the Leafs' end. It also proves that shots on net are a poor indicator of how well a team has played. A better indicator is scoring chances and giveaways. My guess is that the Leafs do not fair well in these areas. As far as the truculence indicator, well Carolina out hit our Maple Leafs 21-17.






OT Loss






OT Loss



OT Loss








Tampa Bay

OT Loss



SO Loss







Sunday, January 10, 2010

The penalty shot that wasn't

After watching the clip you may be wonder why Gonchar still get penalized, and why Toronto does not get its penalty shot? It's all explained in the NHL rulebook under section 78.6.

Any penalties signaled during the period of time between the apparent goal and the next stoppage of play shall be assessed in the normal manner, except when a minor penalty is to be assessed to the team scored upon, and is therefore nullified by the scoring of the goal. If an infraction happens after the first stoppage of play following an apparent goal (infraction after the whistle) by either team, it is assessed and served in the normal manner regardless as to the decision rendered by the Video Goal Judge.

Only ONE goal may be awarded during a single stoppage in play. Because Toronto could have scored a goal on the penalty shot -- the same stoppage as Gonchar's goal -- that would have obviously been more than one goal on a single stoppage. It's also because of that rule that if Ponikarovsky had scored on his initial breakaway that goal would have been erased from the scoreboard.

Storm blow by Chiefs

The Storm have now faced the Mississauga Chiefs twice this season and have now beaten them twice by identical scores of 3-1. The Storm have continued their recent strong play to out hustle Mississauga and coast to the win.

The score remained scoreless in the first period but early in the second Kailee redirected a shot by Allie to give the Storm a 1-0 lead. Later in the period Gabbie tipped in a backhand shot by Alicia to increase the lead by two goals. Early in the third period the Storm gave up a shorthanded goal at the end of a long shift as the Mississauga penalty killers outskated some tired legs. However, the two goal lead was restored at the end of the powerplay with a goal off the face off by Maddie L on a set up by Emma.

The weekend turned out a success with 3 out of 4 points against the top two teams in the division. Slowly the Storm has begun to move up the standing moving into 6th place but only 6 points back of 2nd place Mississauga with 3 games in hand.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Storm team standings

Atom B 17 15 1 1 31 59 13 91.18%
Bantam BB 15 6 5 4 16 20 16 53.33%
Midget B - I 17 6 6 5 17 26 23 50.00%
Midget B - H 14 5 6 3 13 19 26 46.43%
Midget BB 18 5 8 5 15 39 38 41.67%
Peewee B 15 5 8 2 12 26 24 40.00%
Intermediate 18 5 10 3 13 39 54 36.11%
Bantam C 15 3 10 2 8 15 68 26.67%
Midget A 17 2 11 4 8 28 53 23.53%
Bantam B 16 1 12 3 5 47 32 15.63%
Atom C 17 1 15 1 3 7 71 8.82%
Peewee C 16 0 15 1 1 9 47 3.13%

Friday, January 08, 2010

Leafs get 50 shots and still lose

Yup the Leafs do it again. They fall behind by 3 goals, storm back but fall short, losing 3-2. They get 50 shots on Ryan Miller, their second highest shot total this season but only score twice.






OT Loss






OT Loss



OT Loss





Tampa Bay

OT Loss



SO Loss










Storm tie up first place Dolphines

The Storm finished the last decade with a shutout and begin the new decade with a shutout. The high flying Storm out-skated, out-shot and out-hustled the first place Dolphins but could eke out a goal to win the game. Paolina stopped every shot she faced including some tough ones for the shutout. But the best scoring chance belonged to the Storm including Alicia, Maddie L, and Genevieve but they couldn't get the puck by the Dolphin goalie.

The single point moves the Storm into a tie for sixth place with Scarborough and only one point out of fifth place with 3 games in hand on Durham West.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Toronto Maple Leafs: Is the glass half full or half empty?

When it comes to Toronto Maple Leaf fans, many view their team through blue tinted glasses. In every loss they see a silver lining - the team worked hard, they were able to comeback from a 2-goal deficit, Matt Stajan had a strong game, the referees were bad, it was a moral victory. Many fans think they have a strong core and with a few additions, a lot of those losses will turn into wins. The same fans think that you can trade Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala for Jeff Carter.

So are the Leafs on their way to being competitive or are they headed in the opposite direction? Truthfully you can't always tell. This team has shown a lot of resiliency despite falling behind at least 2-0 in 22 games this season. But in addition to being fairly resilient, they have played some pretty bad hockey. Why else have they fallen behind by 2 goals so many times? They are awful on special teams. For example they have had the 9th fewest penalties to kill off in the NHL this season but have given up the most goals killing penalties. Almost one out of three Leaf penalties leads to a goal. Their penalty killing is third worst in NHL history, only slightly better than the 79-80 Kings and the 82-83 Kings.

The goaltending is the worst in the league. Their #1 goalie (Vesa Toskala) has the worst goals against average and save percentage in the league which has forced the team to sit him on the bench. The backup goalie (Jonas Gustavsson) is a rookie who has been forced into the starting role because of the inept play of Toskala. The problem is Gustavsson is just not ready to be a #1 goalie. The result has been a disaster and part of the explanation why the Leafs keep falling behind in games. Teams with strong goaltending can get away with an off night but the Leafs can never afford to have an off night.

As was the case last season, a weak forward corpse means players are assigned roles they are not suited for. For example, Matt Stajan has neither the size or skill to be a first line centre. Stajan is this year's Dominic Moore who last season had inflated numbers and unrealistic salary demands. We know how that turned out. Fans can't understand why the Leafs aren't bringing up that terrific young talent on the Marlies roster. Well that's because no one is ready for prime time. The Marlies top scorer is 62nd in scoring in the AHL. And that player is none other than Andre Deveaux. Yes, a fighter is their leading scorer. Folks, the cupboard is bare.

As we are all well aware, Brian Burke's eagerness to acquire a top end talent led him to trade two first round draft picks for Phil Kessell so there will be no hot prospects to look forward to next spring. To compensate, Burke will be looking to trade veterans with any value in March for draft picks so that he has some reason to show up at the draft before round 3. No that doesn't mean Toskala or Blake. You would need to give away draft picks to convince another GM to take them off your hands. The players most likely to be traded are Hagman, Kaberle and Stajan. But if someone is willing to send a low draft pick for a Mayers or a Stempniak, they will be gone too.

So back to my question - is the glass half full or half empty?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Creator of Pez dispenser has passed away

This is a truly sad day. A titan of industry. A captain of candy. A Nikola Tesla-like inventor, has died. Yep, the guy that invented the miraculous PEZ dispenser is gone.

Candy genius Curtis Allina died at the age of 87.

It was in 1955 that Mr. Allina brought the Austrian candy to the USA and started a pop culture phenomenon. Who hasn't owned a Pez dispenser? What other candy is mentioned in Seinfeld?

Canadian Junior loss has a silver lining

I don't mind when you get beat by a better team and last night's loss by Canada's Junior men's hockey team was just that. The Americans had more speed, more discipline, and more grit. But more important, the Americans had better goaltending.

In the four games played against opponents other than the U.S., Canada outscored the opposition 36-3. It appeared they had superb goaltending but as it turned out the results were skewed by weak opponents. A fairer test was the U.S. who managed 10 goals in the 2 games played. Clearly not good enough to win gold. In fact, had they not pulled out the win on New Years Eve, they may not have made it to the gold medal game. This is no knock on Jake Allen who is an excellent player but his glove hand failed him throughout the tournament.

Losing to a team like Team USA is no shame. Those were incredibly exciting and entertaining games. As well. winning 5 golds and 2 silvers over 7 World tournaments speaks volumes to Canada's outstanding Junior hockey program. I would doubt Canada's professional players could match that record.

I'm not a big fan of Rickard Wallin

I call him the invisible man - you hardly notice Rickard Wallin when he is in the lineup. He played a fair amount early in the season but until the recent injuries to Grabovski and and Primeau, he had been relegated to the press box for much of the past month.

He doesn't appear to do anything particularly well. He has no speed, shot, or physical presence. He has no goals and just 3 assists in 31 games. Only 5 players have played more games than Wallin without scoring a goal but most of these players are fighters.

Wallin is projected to score ZERO goals this season. He hasn't even come close to scoring a goal. He has been averaging 11:30 minutes per game for a total of 356 minutes of ice time with not much to show for it. He has to be one of the worst players in the NHL.

I'm not sure what the Leafs saw in him during last year's World Championships that would make them want to sign him to a contract or why he isn't finishing the season with the Marlies. Did he come as a package deal with Jonas Gustavsson? Is their organizational depth so thin that they need to keep him on their roster?

He actually has scored at the NHL level. Prior to the lockout, he played 19 games for Minnesota and scored 6 goals. Perhaps he was more suited for the NHL game prior to the lockout or maybe at 29 he is already beyond is prime. I guess he may just be filling a roster spot on a rebuilding team while prospects develop in the minors. Maybe the Leafs expected more out of him. I noticed that the Bruins signed Miroslav Satan as a free agent last week for about the same money that Wallin got. Wouldn't that have been a better option for the Leafs in the short term?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Brian Burke tries shaking things up for Team USA

Team USA did miserably at the 2006 Olympics finishing 4th in their pool with only 1 win against Kazahkstan. They subsequently knocked out in the semis by Finland. So Brian Burke figures why go with the lineup that crashed and burned 4 years ago. No Modano, Gomez, Guerin and Tkachuk this time. Though as long as Ryan Miller is in net, maybe it doesn't matter who else is in the lineup. Team USA will be interesting.


Erik Johnson 38 4 17 21 21:42
Jack Johnson 39 4 11 15 22:54
Brooks Orpik 37 0 14 14 19:57
Brian Rafalski 35 2 13 15 24:03
Ryan Suter 40 2 18 20 24:07
Paul Martin 9 0 2 2 23:57
Mike Komisarek 33 0 4 4 19:55

Ryan Whitney 39 3 19 22 25:35
Andy Greene 35 5 18 23 23:59
Zach Bogosain 39 8 8 16 22:36


David Backes 39 9 9 18 17:53
Dustin Brown 40 9 19 28 19:12
Ryan Callahan 39 9 10 19 19:37
Chris Drury 34 5 9 14 17:09
Patrick Kane 39 17 27 44 19:01
Ryan Kesler 40 10 23 33 19:29
Phil Kessel 29 14 8 22 20:05
Jamie Langengrunner 38 9 22 31 20:01
Ryan Malone 40 19 16 35 19:30
Zach Parise 38 17 25 43 19:47
Joe Pavelski 24 7 11 18 19:14
Bobby Ryan 39 19 14 33 19:19
Paul Stastny 41 9 30 39 21:33

Tim Conolly 39 9 20 29 18:35
Bill Guerin 41 12 16 28 17:43
Jason Pominville 39 10 17 27 18:48
Scott Gomez 38 5 20 25 19:47
Brian Rolston 37 13 9 22 17:42
R.J. Umberger 41 13 14 27 18:58
Mike Madano 26 6 8 14 14:27
Keith Tkachuk 37 8 14 22 14:14
Kyle Okposo 40 6 21 27 20:22