Toronto Maple Leafs
I loved last night's Leafs game. An overtime win against the Penguins got me out of my seat, screaming like it was a playoff game. Tonight, when Boyce scored late in the third against the Flyers, I did it again. Throw in a James Reimer game saving stop and it was clear I was hooked.
Here's the current standings. Take it in and meet me after, k?
Those pesky Hurricanes are still 4 points up, and those damn Sabres still have the two games in hand, but the Rangers are falling fast. We're only 3 points back with a game in hand.
At the risk of jinxing it all with this entry, I'm going to come out and say what we're all thinking. We can make the playoffs this season. We're getting great goaltending, playing excellent hockey and earning points. We can do this.
On a quiet trade deadline day, the Leafs made one move, sending John Mitchell to the New York Rangers for a seventh-round pick in 2012.
In 159 career NHL games, Michell has 20 goals and 55 points. He's been playing for the Marlies this season, unable to crack our stellar NHL lineup.
It's February in Toronto. That can only mean one thing. It's time for the Leafs to tease us by flirting with a playoff drive, only to come up a little short.
I watched last night's game against the Habs and found myself cheering as if it was a playoff game. I wanted that one, almost as badly as I wanted Kessel to get a hat trick.
The big win over the hateful Habs has us 4 points out of the playoffs with only Buffalo and Carolina in the way. Check out these hopeful standings.
Normally, when we make our February drive to the promised land only to come up short, we screw ourselves. We miss the playoffs and lose out on a lottery pick in the draft. This season, there's absolutely no downside to this tease. We're only screwing the Bruins.
It's win-win. Go Leafs Go!
The Tomas Kaberle era in Toronto is over. We're calling it at 878 regular-season games. He was the only Leaf remaining who actually suited up for the team in the 90s.
My son still has his Tomas Kaberle bobblehead and I'll always have my Tomas Kaberle autograph.
Kaberle is now a member of the Boston Bruins. The Leafs will receive prospect centre Joe Colborne, the Bruins’ first-round pick and a conditional second-round pick in 2012 if Kaberle - an unrestricted free agent this summer – signs a new contract in Boston or if they make the Stanley Cup final.
I just looked it up... "Kaberle" appears in 207 entries on this blog, excluding this one. He was a very likable, solid performer for over a decade and I already miss the SOB. But as I learned from the excellent HBO series Six Feet Under, everything ends.
As you've likely heard by now, Brian Burke has traded Kris Versteeg to the Philadelphia Flyers for first and third round draft picks in 2011. You can put a fork in Versteeg's Maple Leaf tenure at 53 games. He just arrived via trade on July 1.
Back then, Versteeg cost us Viktor Stalberg and prospects Chis DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis. So, really.. when you think about it.. we gave up Viktor Stalberg and prospects Chis DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis for a first and third round draft pick and Bill Sweatt. Would you make that trade? I would.
Even though Versteeg raps...
Our Toronto Maple Leafs have sent defenceman Francois Beauchemin to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward Joffrey Lupul, defenceman Jake Gardiner and a conditional Ducks fourth-round pick in 2012.
Lupul, 27, has five goals and eight assists in 26 games with the Ducks this season. The Alberta native was originally Anaheim’s first choice, seventh overall, in the 2002 Entry Draft. He has 117 goals and 121 assists for 238 points in 421 career NHL games with the Ducks, Oilers and the Flyers.
Join me in a trip down memory lane as we remember the day Francois Beauchemin signed with the Maple Leafs, way back in July of 2009.
My favourite line of that entry is the last one: "Clearly, Kaberle has played his last game for the Leafs."
James Reimer has played 9 games in his NHL career. He's sporting a sweet .940 SV% and a fantastic 1.96 GAA. You may have heard he recorded his first shutout the other night over Carolina.
He's 5-3 for a pretty bad team, and that's earned him the nickname King James. He's our latest next great hope, following Jiri Tlusty, Justin Pogge, Nazem Kadri, The Monster and some guy named Phil Kessel. I haven't given up on that last guy yet...
When the Leafs drop the puck in Buffalo tonight, all eyes will be on the 22-year old Winnipeg native between the pipes. In a Leafs-crazy city, desperate for hope and something to cheer for, James Reimer already owns this town. Owning this city is easy... it only took King James 9 games.
I'm not complaining. This is fun. In King James we trust.
So... Stan Lee is creating superheroes for each team in the NHL. According to the NHL, "these 30 Guardians will be unveiled together in a special presentation during the 2011 NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 30 in Raleigh, N.C."
Pretty cool. I can't wait to see what superhero my Leafs get!
Oh... it's a tree. A giant walking and talking tree. Nevermind.
I was really excited about Justin Pogge on January 6, 2006. On that date, I wrote that I had seen the future of Maple Leaf hockey. His name was Justin Pogge.
Things seemed to be going fine for Pogge as a Maple Leaf until I interviewed him. That was the beginning of the end for him. The Justin Pogge era came to a crashing halt here in Toronto back in June of 2009.
Puck Daddy tells us today that Justin Pogge has gone insane. I think I made Justin Pogge go crazy. Here's the video evidence.
I'm sorry, Justin.
When Alex Anthopoulos sent Vernon Wells to the Angels the other day, it got me thinking about big trades in Toronto sports history.
The two biggest, in my opinion, took place just over a year apart in the early 90s. You simply can't discuss big Toronto team trades without talking about December 5, 1990 and January 2, 1992.
December 5, 1990
Pat Gillick sent Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez to the Padres for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar. It was two all-stars for two all-stars, and the end result would be two World Series championships for the Jays.
January 2, 1992
Cliff Fletcher sent Gary Leeman, Alexander Godynyuk, Jeff Reese, Michel Petit and Craig Berube to the Flames in exchange for Doug Gilmour, Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Kent Manderville and Rick Wamsley. Gilmour assumed superstar status and led us to within a whisker of the Stanley Cup finals in 1993.
Both were amazing trades for the Jays and Leafs, but which one was better?
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