Toronto Maple Leafs

Leafs Trade David Clarkson (This is Not a Joke)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded forward David Clarkson to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Nathan Horton. This is not a joke. This is the real mofo deal.

Clarkson was signed in July 2013 but didn't last two seasons. My doppelganger has been given the boot and nobody will be sorry to see him go.

clarkson

Horton has not played this season due to a back injury, and may never play again. He is in the second year of a seven-year deal he signed with the Blue Jackets prior to the 2013-14 season worth an average annual value of $5.3 million.

The Leafs, a much richer team than Columbus, can afford to pay Horton to be on the long-term injured reserve. As long he's on it, there isn't a cap hit. Shanny might just be the executive of the year.

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Daniel Winnik Traded to Pittsburgh

When the Leafs traded Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators, I felt the first flame had been sparked in operation Scorched Earth. Since then, I've readjusted my expectations. I no longer believe the Leafs will be able to trade anyone beyond the expiring contracts.

Daniel Winnik signed a one-year deal with the Leafs last summer, and he was definitely going to be dealt to a playoff-bound team. That happened today when he was sent to Pittsburgh for forward Zach Sill, their second round pick in 2016 and fourth round pick in 2015.

Now, the hard part begins. The trade deadline is Monday and so far Operation Scorched Earth is really more lit tinder.

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For the First Time, I Can't Watch the Leafs

If I'm available to watch a Leafs game, I always tune in. This is even true for preseason games, and has been the case for as long as I can remember. I have always thoroughly enjoyed watching my hockey team, regardless of quality. This has always been the case, until now.

I tuned in the other day and watched Tyler Bozak score an early goal. I instinctively cheered, and then realized it was better if we didn't win. That's no way to watch a game.

Since I want my team to lose, and don't wish to root for the opposition, it's best I stop watching for a while. I'm going to take a break until I can cheer for Leafs wins again.

We've been pretty bad for a while now, so how is this the first time I've chosen to stop watching? As I ponder this question, a few reasons bounce around my head.

  1. We typically don't nosedive this hard, this early. In the past, there always seemed to be a chance we'd go on a run and finish 8th in the conference. There was always a sliver of hope.
  2. We actually own our own first round pick. There's finally a good incentive to tank. This is completely different from the year Boston owned our fist round pick and chose Tyler Seguin second overall.
  3. I'm getting old and am awfully busy. If it ain't fun viewin', I've got better things to do.

I'll still be reading about my team and hoping for more trades, but for the very first time in my life, the Leafs game won't be appointment viewing for me. It's no fun rooting for losses.

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Franson and Santorelli Traded to Nashville

The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators for Nashville’s first-round selection in the 2015 Draft, and forwards Brendan Leipsic and Olli Jokinen.

Operation Scorched Earth has begun...

scorched_earth

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As One Doppelgänger Falls, Another Rises

An ongoing inside joke between me and my pals is my constant defense of David Clarkson. I'll even tweet after every goal he scores with an emphatic "DAVID CLARKSON SCORES!", something I haven't had to do in quite some time. The origin of this David Clarkson defense is twofold:

  1. Clarkson grew up in nearby Mimico, rooting for the Leafs, and I would never fault him for getting a monster contract from Dave Nonis
  2. From certain angles, Clarkson looks an awful lot like me, particularly when I was his age and 30lbs heavier

Truth be known, the David Clarkson we see this season is David Clarkson. He's not under performing, he's pretty much playing his best. He was never worthy of the contract he received, and now he's a prime target of disdain.

Peter Horachek made Clarkson a healthy scratch against the Oilers, and we won big. It was only our second win of 2015. Clarkson will likely be a healthy scratch tonight, too.

As one doppelgänger falls, another rises. I received this tweet the other day from @kewl75.

We'll see how this works out...

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Everyone is Available (Except This Guy)

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The Great NHL Stats Fraud

Our Toronto Maple Leafs have lost 10 in a row. That hasn't happened since there were only six teams in the NHL. The Leafs have only one win in all of 2015. That's bad, even for this franchise.

We all know the Leafs have lost 10 in a row, but try telling that to the NHL. Officially, the NHL thinks we've lost 3 in a row, because we lost in a shootout to the Devils back on January 28.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 1.36.42 PM

What a bunch of malarky that is. Losing in overtime or a shootout is still losing. Make no mistake about it, the Leafs have lost 10 in a row, despite what you'll read at NHL.com.

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The Ebb and Flow of Toronto Sports

What a difference a single month can make in Toronto sports. Here's what I wrote way back on December 16, 2014.

I catch every Leafs and Raptors game I can, and lately, it's been pure joy. The Leafs are 9-1-1 since getting hammered by Nashville. The Raptors have been hot all season, now 19-6, good for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Since then, the Leafs have gone in the toilet. They're junk. We've lost seven of our last eight games, and have scored one single goal over the last four games. That's incredible ineptitude.

Meanwhile, the Raptors are on a slide, having lost six of eight. They'll likely bounce back, as they're actually a good team. The Leafs, a bad team, are toast.

I've lived in this city all my life. I'm used to this.

One King West is just one of the many hotels near the acc.

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Randy Carlyle Fired

Randy Carlyle has been fired as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hired by the Maple Leafs on March 2, 2012, Carlyle compiled a record of 91 wins, 78 losses, and 19 overtime/shootout losses in 188 games behind the Maple Leafs’ bench.

I'm actually surprised Brendan Shanahan chose to use one of his bullets now. I figured he'd let Carlyle finish the season before bringing in his coach. Now, should the not-yet-announced interim coach finish the season strong, it will be difficult for Shanahan to make another coaching move.

Does Shanahan have an available coach in mind (Paul MacLean, anyone?) or will that move happen during the summer?

Or is this simply so he can evaluate what he has without Carlyle at the helm before deciding what to keep and what to toss over the side of a sinking ship?

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It's Time I Jinx Our Teams Again

Of course, I'm kidding with that title. There's no such thing as a jinx. There's nothing I can say or write on this blog that will have any effect on our professional sports teams.

I catch every Leafs and Raptors game I can, and lately, it's been pure joy. The Leafs are 9-1-1 since getting hammered by Nashville. The Raptors have been hot all season, now 19-6, good for first place in the Eastern Conference.

I'm so jazzed about how well my teams are playing, I'm documenting this moment for posterity. Here are your red hot Raptors leading the East.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 1.51.45 PM

And here are your red hot Leafs, winners of 5 in a row.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 1.52.33 PM

Good times...

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