Toronto Maple Leafs
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".
Stopping the slide is easy. The Leafs just have to sign this kid.
Yes, the Leafs have lost three in a row. We're on a 2-5-2 slide, one that feels awfully familiar at this time of year. But last I checked we were still holding down a playoff spot, and I last checked 2 minutes ago.
So don't hit the panic button yet. Don't do it. Reimer played a strong game and we did come back in the third to force OT.
We'll be fine. Trust me.
So this just happened...
The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has sold its 79.53 per cent stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to Rogers Communications and BCE for more than $1.2 billion. BCE is fancy talk for Bell. That's right, Bell and Rogers now each own 37.5% of MLSE, which owns, among other things, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors, TFC and the Toronto Marlies.
A couple of thoughts immediately spring to mind... These partnerships between Rogers and Bell make me very nervous. We need them to hate each other, right? It can't be good for the competitive landscape, for those of us who need Internet access and mobile talk and data plans and cable tv, when these telecom behemoths keep jumping into bed together.
And what will become of Pension Plan Puppets, the go-to Leafs blog in these parts? I hope they keep the name for tradition, the way we secular folks still call this Santa holiday Christmas.
But what matters most, of course, is will this help my Leafs win the cup? Since we've already given Brian Burke autonomy and let him spend the cap, I'm thinking it won't make a difference. At least it won't hurt...
What do you guys think of the sale of MLSE?
The NHL governors have approved a new four-conference format. The four conferences will be:
Conference A: Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver
Conference B: Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg
Conference C: Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto
Conference D: Carolina, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington
The playoffs would see 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 in each conference, and then I'm guessing they'll re-seed for subsequent rounds.
This realignment requires NHLPA approval before it can be officially implemented. I'm okay with it, what about you guys?
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