Toronto Maple Leafs
During the summer of 2008, we all knew Brian Burke was on his way. Sure, he was still GM of the Ducks at the time, but by November it was official. Brian Burke had a 5-year deal to be the new President and GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
We watched the Leafs miss the playoffs under Burke's watch in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and with the Leafs trailing Washington 4-0 as I type, our hopes here in 2012 are quickly fading. Burke's made significant changes, but the results are the same.
Some say it's the coaching. Others say it's the goaltending. I say it's everything.
Ron Wilson needs to go, we need reliable and dependable goaltending, and the talent of both the forwards and defensemen needs a serious upgrade. We're praying to somehow slip into 8th place in the conference so we can be first-round fodder, and not a soul in this city thinks there's a prayer we'll play for the cup. This is a mediocre team, like most Leafs teams this past decade.
With the trade deadline Monday, what players wouldn't you part with? Gardiner, maybe? In truth, there's no blue chip Leafs players that aren't expendable. There's a few decent parts, and at least one d-man with a massive upside, but it feels like we're as far away from the cup as ever. Any hope we had has dissolved.
Here's hoping Burke doesn't give up a single draft pick on Monday. Here's hoping Burke fires his buddy Ron Wilson, something he should have done last summer. Here's hoping we hold on to Jake Gardiner, find a goalie who can stand on his head for a couple of months and don't sacrifice the future for a potential 8th place finish.
And Burke? At some point he has to live up to his rep... he's on the clock, and he knows it. I'm giving him one more season.
He started strong, inspiring this slice of creativity from yours truly.
Last night, I watched the Leafs vs. Devils, and leapt for joy when Phil Kessel scored the tying goal in the last minute of play. Then, in overtime, I saw Jonas Gustavsson, formerly known as The Monster, allow the worst OT goal I can ever recall seeing. It was horrendous, and it couldn't come at a worst time. I counted three bad goals in all last night, but this was the worst of the bunch.
That's it. The Monster era is over. Give the keys to James Reimer and let's see where the chips fall. The Monster can never start another game in this city. He can pack his bags now for his inevitable return to Sweden.
The Monster is simply Gus now. And Gus is done.
The Catholic Church of Montreal has Habs fans praying for a miracle. In an ad run in La Presse and Le Journal de Montreal newspapers, they've printed the hopeful final NHL standings with 8th place occupied by "Pray".
With the Montreal Canadiens currently sitting in 14th place, it's going to take more than prayer for them to finish 8th, but it's fun seeing things are this desperate in Montreal. They certainly won't make the playoffs without divine intervention.
I don't believe in prayer, but I'd hope those who do would pray for something a little more righteous, like a Leafs Stanley Cup parade this June.
Other entries you may enjoy:
- If You Love the Leafs, You Hate the Habs: It Is Written
- Subbanator Habs Fans Find New Way to Offend
- Important Message From Leafs Fans to Habs Fans
I've always been fascinated with goaltenders. There are goalies who score, our love of unproven goalies, and an exhaustive list of every goalie to wear the blue and white in the NHL.
Ever since Ed Belfour, it's been a little sketchy between the pipes in this city. Ok, it's been a lot sketchy, which may explain why Ed Belfour played the last playoff game in this city almost 8 years ago. Holy shit, has it really been 8 years?
Let's just look at the last two seasons. This was Jean-Sébastien Giguère's team, then James Reimer took the reigns to close out last season. We loved Reimer, we still do, but earlier this year we flirted with Ben Scrivens before being surprised by The Monster, a player we were all ready to trade for a bag of pucks.
Who saw this coming? Our season rests on the shoulders of Jonas Gustavsson, signed from Sweden to great fanfare back in 2009, who is an awful lot like Reimer, Scrivens and the lot in that he's unproven.
But at least he's not Vesa Toskala. We can do this...
Yes, the MasterCard Centre For Hockey Excellence should change its name. There's been very little hockey excellence from this franchise over the past 30 years, I'm all too aware. The MasterCard Centre For Hockey Mediocrity would be more appropriate, but I digress...
On Friday, MasterCard was kind enough to send me to a Maple Leafs practice there. They literally picked me up and dropped me off when it was over. It was pretty cool watching a full official practice in such an intimate setting.
This was a part of Mastercard's #pricelessTO initiative, and they made it easy for this life-long Leafs fan to check out the action. Here's a few videos I took.
A Winter Classic featuring the Leafs means we're getting an alumni game. That's got me thinking about who I'd like to see out there.
Between the pipes, for example, I don't need to see Cujo or Belfour. Give me Bester, Wregget and Potvin, please. Up front, I also want to go heavy with the '83-'93 teams. Yes, it's all about me.
Here's a laundry list of the Leafs I'd like to see considered for our Alumni team. The only slam dunks would be Wendel, Dougie, Darryl, Borje and Mats, right?
- John Anderson
- Dave Andreychuk
- Bryan Berard
- Allan Bester
- Nikolai Borchevsky
- Wendel Clark
- Russ Courtnall
- Vincent Damphousse
- Dan Daoust
- Bill Derlago
- Dave Ellett
- Tom Fergus
- Mike Foligno
- Miroslav Frycer
- Todd Gill
- Doug Gilmour
- Al Iafrate
- Peter Ihnacak
- Dave Keon
- Chris Kotsopoulos
- Gary Leeman
- Jim McKenny
- Ed Olczyk
- Felix Potvin
- Gary Roberts
- Borje Salming
- Darryl Sittler
- Mats Sundin
- Steve Thomas
- Rick Vaive
- Ken Wregget
- Dmitri Yushkevich
Who do you want to see suit up for the Leafs in the alumni game next season?
I should preface this entry by stating that I don't believe in jinxes. I don't believe that anything I do can influence my team's play on the ice, despite the fact I used to send my 'vibes' to Maple Leaf Gardens in the early-to-mid 80s and I'm sure that may have helped the Leafs sweep Chicago in '86.
So I don't believe in jinxes or karma or any of that, so this entry is actually about coincidence.
Early in 2012, I went to Germany. With the 6-hour time difference and lack of Leafs games on my hotel cable TV package, I didn't see a minute of Leafs action. When I returned, the Leafs were on a 4-game win streak.
Since I've come back, I've watched 3 games. We lost all three in regulation.
Am I a Leafs jinx? Of course not. I'm not the reason they haven't made the Stanley Cup finals in my lifetime. It's just a coincidence, trust me.
It's sure sounding like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wing will play in next season's Winter Classic. ESPN says they'll play at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Of course, as a participant in the Winter Classic, the Leafs will also be featured on HBO's 24/7.
That's what has me most excited. I love 24/7, and I can't wait to see my favourite team profiled. This will be awesome.
And yes, I'm aware our 4-game winning streak only became possible when I fled the country for a bit. I'm back now, so if we lose tonight in Buffalo, I'll admit that I've been single handedly holding us back my entire lifetime.
Hatred for the Montreal Canadiens isn't just a Canadian thing, it's spread all the way to Germany. I saw this poster during my walk in Berlin yesterday.
I'll translate that for you. It reads "Habs are Icky".
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