Toronto Maple Leafs

KesselySnipes' Dion Phaneuf Video

leafsI haven't written about the Leafs in a while. The countdown clock tells me there's still 85 days, 9 hours, 35 minutes, and 35 seconds left until the Maple Leafs opener.

This awesome video is from KesselySnipes. You should watch it.

[via Pension Plan Puppets]

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Brett Lebda Signs With Maple Leafs

leafsBrian Burke made a huge splash in the free agent pool by signing unrestricted free agent defenceman Brett Lebda to a two-year contract, worth $1.45 million per season.

Lebda, 28, has appeared in 326 regular season games amassing 18 goals, 50 assists, and 201 penalty minutes. But he's a #5 or #6 defenseman on a team that desperately needs help up front. And we already have Dion Phaneuf, Tomas Kaberle, Jeff Finger, Francois Beauchemin, Luke Schenn, Carl Gunnarsson and Mike Komisarek.

I take it the signing of Lebda means Kaberle is as good as gone. Either that or Burke has completely lost his mind.

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Maple Leafs 2010/2011 Season Countdown Clock

ClockIf you click on over to http://www.torontomike.com/countdown.html you'll learn there are 95 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes, and 22 seconds left until the Maple Leafs opener against the Habs.

That countdown clock will track the seconds remaining until we drop the puck for real once more. I've done this every summer for eight years and there's always at least one fan who checks it daily.

I recommend checking it hourly.

Our Most Important Ornament

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Colby Armstrong Signs With Maple Leafs

LeafsBrian Burke has pulled the trigger on his first free agent signing of 2010. He's signed Colby Armstrong, who played with the Atlanta Thrashers last season. He'll make $3 million a year for the next three years.

He's a tough 27-year old with with 78 goals, 100 assists and 317 penalty minutes in 360 career games. Burke sure likes the players that are tough to play against, but at some point he's going to have to add a skilled forward or two or we're in for another long season.

colby

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Kris Versteeg Traded to Maple Leafs

LeafsOn the eve of this free agent frenzy we call Canada Day, Brian Burke pulled the trigger on a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks that has Kris Versteeg coming to town.

The Leafs get the 24-year-old Versteeg along with the rights to left winger Bill Sweatt, Chicago’s 38th choice in the 2007 entry draft. Toronto give up winger Viktor Stalberg and prospects Chis DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis.

I'm sorry to see Stalberg go but delighted we landed Kris Versteeg, and not just because I took him in this year's playoff pool. He played in 79 games last season, picking up 20 goals and 24 assists to place sixth in team scoring.

Today should be fun.

Update: Versteeg raps!


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Damien Cox, Why Do You Hate Us So?

NewspaperAs a sports fanatic who is also a long time reader of the Toronto Star, I've been reading Damien Cox for what feels like forever. Sometimes I disagree with him, sometimes I agree with him, but I always read what he has to say.

Damien Cox, I just have one question for you. Why do you hate Leafs fans so much?

I've noticed this more and more lately. Damien Cox seems to have a serious hate-on for fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Just this morning I was reading his blog entry from yesterday entitled "A Face to Match a Trade". He opens this entry with the following.

So Leaf fans can finally stop obsessing about losing out on Taylor Hall.

It was Tyler Seguin.

That's fine, the Phil Kessel trade will be debated for many years and we'll be talking about Tyler Seguin as one of the players we gave up. But it's this idiotic statement later in the same entry that pops out as a moronic and naive viewpoint of Leafs fans.

Phil Kessel? To those worst afflicted, he's barely an afterthought, even if he wins the Rocket Richard Trophy the next five seasons.

Really, Damien? Is there a single Leafs fan who would complain about Burke's deal for Kessel if he wins the Rocket Richard Trophy the next five seasons? Are you trying to be an asshole or do you really believe this ridiculous nonsense you're spewing?

I follow Damien Cox on Twitter, and the night the Blackhawks won the cup, there were these precious tweets.

damo

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In reality, most of us are proud to own this record. The drought fuels our passion. And the distinction regarding the Kings and Blues is just fair and full disclosure. They too haven't won during our drought.

It seems the Pension Plan Puppets guys struck a nerve with Damien that night, because he tweeted this sucker punch a few days later.

damo3

But then again, Damien Cox never really got Twitter.

damo4

I'm not sure why Damien Cox hates us so, but I sense he feels threatened. Suddenly you don't need to work for the Toronto Star to have a publishing platform to voice your opinions. Suddenly your detractors can do more than simply write a letter to the editor. We can harness the power of Twitter, Facebook and blogs to be heard.

Damien's comfortable world is dying. You can almost understand why he's lashing out.

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When Your Google Juice Haunts You

GoogleGo ahead and Google Tuukka Rask trade. Do it... I'll wait. One of the top results, if not the very top result, is Leafs Trade Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft | Toronto Mike's Blog.

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. Firstly, that entry was written exactly four years ago today. Happy birthday, Rask for Raycroft trade entry! Secondly, due to my Google ranking, that entry continues to haunt me. Whenever Rask has a good game, I see visits to that page from Google spike. I hate the fact that four years later my ridiculous thoughts on that absolutely brutal trade are read over and over and over again.

Bloggers, be very careful what you publish. With a little Google juice, your words could come back to haunt you.

tuukka

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The Secret MLSE ~ Barilkosphere Summit

LeafsLast December, after watching a Maple Leafs game from the press box at the ACC, I wrote Barilkosphere Call to Arms: Our Time is Now.

The digital space belongs to us. It's our blogs, our forums, our podcasts and our content. MLSE would have no editorial privilege and no veto power. MLSE would give us access normally reserved for the traditional mainstream media, and would empower us with tools, funds and some degree of promotion, but we would be the stars of this show. This is where our biased but realistic voices would be heard.

Following the entry, I had further discussions with Jonathan from MLSE. Then, during halftime of a TFC match, we agreed on what the next move had to be. We needed to get MLSE and a few key members of the Barilkosphere in the same room. I spent the last few months putting that together.

Last night, at Wendel Clark's Classic Grill and Sports Lounge, I joined Jonathan and Down Goes Brown, Bloge Salming and one of the two founders of Pension Plan Puppets for some good eats and a hearty discussion about how MLSE currently manages their digital space and what, if anything, the Barilkosphere needs from them.

I won't divulge the juicy details, because what happens at Wendel Clark's, stays at Wendel Clark's. I've been enjoying Down Goes Brown, Bloge Salming and Pension Plan Puppets since I first discovered their respective sites, so it was a great pleasure meeting the people behind the personae.

The fact MLSE wanted a sit down with the Barilkosphere is a huge step for this organization. The wheels are in motion...

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Dion Phaneuf Leafs Captain: Sounds Good to Me

LeafsIt's no surprise our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs are about to announce Dion Phaneuf will don the C next season in our newly designed sweaters. Heck, even I tweeted about this last week.

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I sense Leafs fans are split on this one. It's a classic case of a player's reputation preceding him, and some fans are buying the crap spewing out of Calgary that Phaneuf was a problem in the dressing room and not a team leader. To borrow a phrase by Flava Flav, don't believe the hype.

I was pleased as punch to see Phaneuf come to town and upon further reflection, shocked at the deal Burke managed to pull off that day. I was in the third row for his Leafs debut and I've read just about everything I could find about Phaneuf's attitude with the Leafs, his leadership skills and his approach to the game. I'm convinced Dion Phaneuf should be the Leafs next captain, and I'm glad it's being announced Monday.

Phaneuf is our guy, Barilkosphere. There's no other player on this team right now capable of doing the C proud. We're going big or going home.

DionPhaneuf_wallpaper1680x1050

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Farewell 1961, Hello 1967

stanley cupThis Maple Leafs fan is rooting for Chicago. The Blackhawks are now one win away from their first Stanley Cup since 1961. This Leafs fan couldn't be happier.

It's time to say farewell to 1961 and hello to 1967. 1967 is the last time my team won the Stanley Cup, and we'll soon be the proud owners of the longest drought in the NHL. The Barilkosphere is ready.

When we do win, and we will win, I want it to be all that much sweeter. This record and the 1967 cross we bear guarantees maximum satisfaction and optimal relief. Your chants of "1967" don't humiliate us, it fuels our passion.

1967-toronto-maple-leafs

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