Saturday, October 30, 2010

Does the NHL Need a Coach's Challenge?

colton orr leafs smash
Last Tuesday night the Leafs defeated the Panthers 3-1. What’s significant about this isn’t that the Leafs won (because they’ve actually been doing that with surprising regularity early in the season); rather it’s the manner in which they won that created a minor controversy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meet the New Leafs

kris versteeg cup rap
You might be noticing a lot of new faces around Leaf-land these days. Gone are the good ol' days when Jason Blake took 60 foot wrist shots from the boards. The days when Matt Stajan paraded around as a number one centre (wait, he's still doing that in Calgary?) and Vesa Toskala decided playing NHL 09 was just as effective as practicing.

The season's a few weeks old, but it's never to late for an introduction (unless you've already seen that person around for months and it's too late to ask their name because they definitely introduced themselves and you should know it, but instead you were politely nodding your head and thinking about how you could really go for a cheeseburger and 15 minutes later they were still talking and what's their name?). In those cases you need someone else to facilitate the introduction.

Here's semi-frequent guest columnist Ted Rigby who, in the past, has kindly lent his knowledge of the world of moustaches and the frivolity of draft picks. I promise you dancing, drunkenness, and white-boy raps.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Top 10 Dumbest Moves of the JFJ Era

jfj mlse dumb stupid leafs
In honour of Jackass 3-D’s surprisingly warm reviews (7.5 on imdb, 67% on Rotten Tomatoes) and great opening weekend at the box-office ($50.4 million), I thought it would be appropriate to count down the dumbest stunts performed in Leafs history. Then I figured I could just as easily make a list of the ten dumbest moments in JFJ’s sordid tenure as Leafs’ GM. That’s not hard considering his most endearing feature is resembling Count Chocula.

Listing JFJ’s ten dumbest moments might be a little unfair considering he was really just a patsy for the Leafs’ inept ownership group. Allegedly, JFJ went to the board and asked permission to re-build the Leafs (either before or after the 2005-2006 season), but was rebuked. That’s the moment when he engaged in some of the most inept trades and signings anyone has seen since Mike Milbury attempted to murder the New York Islanders.

Plus, JFJ was woefully under qualified as a GM in the largest hockey market in the world and didn’t receive any help from disposed GM, and then current coach, Pat Quinn. According to Craig Button, who served under JFJ at the time, Ferguson was afraid to involve himself with anyone who could be seen as a threat to his power in the decision-making process. So he was dumb and didn't let anyone help him. Perfect.

Hiring a 36-year-old whose only experience in the NHL was a five-year stint as assistant GM of the St. Louis Blues isn’t the most intelligent decision. But that's not surprising considering MLSE is good at making money, not making savvy hockey decisions.

I’m sure Steve-o and Johnny Knoxville’s parents didn’t pay any attention to them as children, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t morons. Despite the mitigating factors surrounding JFJ’s tenure, he’s still an idiot.

Let me count the reasons why.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

31 Shots: Parade Planning Edition

phaneuf leafs goal
I’m frenzied. The Leafs have started their march to the playoffs by going 3-0. Last year they didn’t win their third game until November 7th. The last time the Leafs started a season 3-0 was 1999-2000. That year they won the Northeast division with 100 points before losing in the second round to the eventual Stanley Cup winning New Jersey Devils.

If you were expecting a long thesis driven piece you’ve come to the wrong place. Here are 31 random, crazed thoughts about the Leafs so far, based on Elliotte Friedman’s excellent series titled 30 thoughts. Originally, I intended to name this series 41 Shots after the Bruce Springsteen song, but that is actually about the police shooting death of Amadou Diallo, which isn’t really a light topic you relate to on your hockey blog. Plus, 41 harebrained thoughts are hard to come up with.

Why 31? It’s one more than 30.

Get ready to shake your head.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


welcome back hockey
I think this picture pretty much sums up my feelings.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

2010-2011 NHL Season Preview

chicago blackhawks stanley cup
Last year’s NHL season was wacky enough that you could have consulted a Magic 8 Ball for your prognostications and you’d fair just as well as any reputed pundit. Phoenix and Colorado surprised everyone by making the playoffs, while pre-season favourites like Philadelphia and Boston didn’t solidify their spot until the last few games of the season.

Once the playoffs began even more madness took place. Montreal surprised everyone by defeating the President’s Trophy winners and the defending Stanley Cup champion, while the Flyers became only the third team in hockey to ever rally from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.

Predictions are a fool’s game. Accordingly, I won’t begrudge you if you are skeptical about the following predictions. If they turn out completely wrong I'll pretend a robot wrote this. However, don’t condemn me as a witch if they turn out with a supernatural accuracy.

If you attend a certain university in Southwestern Ontario this article might seem familiar. The difference between reading this on my blog, as opposed to the student newspaper, is that this will ramble on and I’m liable to piss more people off… starting now…

Even though Montreal fans enjoyed a surprising run to the Conference Final last season they shouldn’t bother planning their semi-annual riot.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Reason to Watch the Marlies

nazem kadri leafs marlies
By all indications, Nazem Kadri will start the 2010-2011 season in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies. Ron Wilson originally penciled Kadri into the opening night line-up after an impressive season in the OHL, but the former seventh overall pick has registered an underwhelming training camp. I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as bad, but it hasn’t been nearly good enough to warrant inclusion among the top-6 forwards.

Kadri was the Leafs' wild card heading into this season. A potential internal upgrade to a Leafs' offense predicted to struggle this season. This is one of the reasons he’s garnered so much media attention. However, on the ice he’s looked tentative and unsure, possibly due to the great expectations laid at his skates.

Kadri’s demotion may concern some (or put all of Leafs Nation into a panic if you believe certain journalists), but it is the best thing for Kadri long-term.

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