Toronto Maple Leafs
With last season's late start due to labour strife, I almost forgot that we'll be the focus of HBO's 24/7 this year leading up to the Winter Classic.
HBO will be filming the Leafs and Red Wings throughout the month of December leading up to the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on January 1.
I can't wait for this season of 24/7...
I knew back in April we were sold fool's gold. The Jays looked awful coming out the gate, and there was no inkling that they would reverse course and actually compete for a playoff spot. By the end of April, it was going to take a minor miracle for my brother to win our $50 bet. On paper, he saw a playoff team. On the field, I saw a team that would be lucky to win 75 games.
Before I proceed, let me just say that it's perfectly okay to hate your favourite team. I'm a Jays fan and have been since '83, and I'll die a Jays fan, but that doesn't mean I need to wear blinders and love what I see. There have been Leafs teams in the past that I've hated, and I happen to hate the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays. That doesn't make me a traitor or a bad fan or a bandwagon jumper. That just makes me a realist.
The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays are limping to the finish line, buried in dead last in the AL East with a dismal .444 winning percentage. They threw in an extra wild card spot and we're still 16 games back. I find it very, very difficult to watch this team that seems to lack discipline, fundamentals and major league pitching. I'd rather stroll down to the local park and watch Little League.
When you hate your favourite team, you're left with one thing: hope. Having mortgaged the future for this crop of overpriced underachievers, there's little hope for 2014. In fact, it looks like the same team, complete with the same overrated underachieving manager. What's going to be different in 2014?
It's okay to hate your favourite team, so long as you don't adopt a new one. I'd never do that... it's not in my DNA. I'll be back next April, tuning in and grasping onto whatever hope I can salvage from this pitiful wreck.
In addition to locking up Tyler Bozak for five years ($21 million) the Leafs have signed David Clarkson to a seven-year deal worth $36.75 million.
Clarkson's 29-years old and scored 15 goals and 24 points for the New Jersey Devils in 48 games last season. He's a physical player who can score goals and he's a proud Toronto boy.
Not to mention he's definitely one of the best UFAs available this year. I like this deal.
When the Leafs traded Mike Brown to Edmonton, I became concerned. Were they eliminating Mikes from the team?
Earlier this week, the Maple Leafs used one of their compliance buyouts on Mike Komisarek, officially ending the Mike Komisarek era in Toronto. Earlier today, the Leafs used their last compliance buyout on Mikhail Grabovski. Mikhail, as you likely know, is just a Bulgarian / Belarusian / Russian Mike.
Two compliance buyouts and both used on Mikes. The systematic elimination of Maple Leaf Mikes continues...
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded three draft picks to the Chicago Blackhawks for centre Dave Bolland. We'll give up #51 and #117 this year and our 4th round pick in 2014. Bolland, 27, scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal for the Blackhawks less than a week ago.
We're still looking for a #1 centre, so if you're a #1 centre and interested in playing for the Leafs, David Nonis would like to have a word with you.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired Los Angeles Kings backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier in exchange for forward Matt Frattin, backup goaltender Ben Scrivens and a second-round pick in either the 2014 or 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
I'm a big James Reimer fan, and the addition of Jonathan Bernier tells me Dave Nonis isn't sold on Reimer being a number one goalie. Bernier was stuck behind Jonathan Quick playing only 62 career regular-season games with the Kings, compiling a 29-20-6 record, .912 save percentage, 2.36 goals-against-average and six shutouts.
Is Bernier marginally better than Reimer or is he going to be another Toskala?
Discuss "Jonathan Bernier Traded to Leafs for Matt Frattin, Ben Scrivens and 2nd Rounder" (16 comments so far)
I still can't believe it...
You follow a team for decades... watch them in the preseason, catch every regular season game you can, then buckle up for the playoffs. Heading in, you have reasonable expectations. I thought Boston would beat us in 5 or 6. I never liked the matchup, in fact, I think it was the worst matchup possible.
Last night's collapse with a 4-1 lead in game seven and only 10 minutes left in the game was so cruel, so intensely painful, a day later I'm still stunned and totally bummed. I feel awful.... like a good friend just punched me in the gut. I still can't believe it happened.
I remember the loss to LA in the Campbell Conference finals. Game 7 was a devastating loss, with a finals against Montreal waiting in the wings, but this feel so much worse. Up 4-1, I was planning Leafs parties for the Leafs-Rangers series, a series in which we'd have home-ice advantage. I was so excited for my kids, my city and myself, a lifelong Leafs fan who jumped 4-feet in the air when Kadri scored.
I realize it was just a game, and when I step back and get perspective, I realize how silly it is that I feel this way, but this one hurts.
The first home team clinching game I recall was when George Bell squeezed the last out to clinch my Blue Jays the AL East in 1985. It wasn't until that next April, however, that we broke out the Diet Coke.
The Maple Leafs were awful in 1985-86, finishing 25-48-7. In the Norris Division, that was good enough for fourth and a matchup with the division winning Chicago Black Hawks.
It was only a best-of-three back then in the first round, and somehow, against all odds, the Leafs played superb hockey taking games one and two on the road. In game three, on April 12, 1986, my brothers and I watched Wendel Clark lead us to the sweep.
It was our first taste of the thrill a playoff series victory brought us, and we instinctively headed to the fridge for something to celebrate with. I remember we grabbed cans of Diet Coke and began spraying them at each other in celebration. Our Leafs were victorious and we were elated.
I'll never forget that first Leafs playoff round victory celebration and the Diet Cokes. I can't wait for tonight.
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