Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Dion Phaneuf Trade: A Year Later

dion phaneuf leafs trade
Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the trade that brought Dion Phaneuf to Toronto. It was a day met with glee and excitement around Leafs Nation. The Flames were immediately derided for trading a former Norris Trophy candidate at his lowest possible value for a package of cast-offs from the worst team in the Eastern Conference. However, the Flames haven’t exactly missed Phaneuf, but they haven’t really enjoyed the Matt Stajan era either.

But this isn’t a post trying to explain how the Leafs won the trade. It doesn’t really matter who won. Both teams got what they wanted. Calgary needed to save cap space and they did. Unfortunately, they didn’t spend their cap savings wisely, but that’s one reason Darryl Sutter is no longer employed as the team’s GM. Whereas in Toronto, Burke continued to makeover his roster, shipping out players inflicted with losers’ syndrome, while acquiring a young and talented (albeit flawed) player with the type of potential unavailable without the luxury of owning a first round pick.

This is a post examining what’s transpired over the course of a year. A post that will look to the future to see if this is still a deal that will help the Maple Leafs in the long-term. A year ago I said the only way this deal could fail is if the Leafs’ paired Schenn and Phaneuf, causing Pierre McGuire to masturbate on air. It hasn’t exactly worked out that way, but are the Leafs in a better place than they were a year ago? I think it would be hard to argue otherwise. But it hasn’t been pretty.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy 50th, Wayne

gretzky hot

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Where Did It All Go Wrong For Ottawa?

ottawa senators suck sens
Since the Ottawa Senators entered the league as an expansion team in 1992-1993 they have won four division titles, one President’s Trophy, and made one Stanley Cup Final. They consistently topped 100 points a season and were a league powerhouse, albeit one that routinely fell short of expectations in the playoffs (“here’s Nieuwendyk again…scores again!”). Think of them as San Jose East.

However, the Sens put all that playoff baggage behind them when they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007 before being ousted by the Anaheim Ducks. In a little less than four years the Senators went from a Stanley Cup finalist to the disaster you see before you. What happened? Where did it all go so horribly wrong?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Keep Your Head Up, Kid

taylor hall oilers hurt injury
Last night the Edmonton Oilers lost 5-2 to the LA Kings. That isn’t news. The Oilers are a young team trying to learn how to compete in a tough Western Conference while trying to forge an identity and consistency. They are second last in the NHL - tied with the New York Islanders - but there is hope on the horizon in the form of young blue-chip prospects like Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, and Taylor Hall. The latter of which had his bell rung last night.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's Reim Time

james reimer leafs
The Leafs’ organizational depth between the pipes is actually one of the areas of strength for the team. This is surprising considering both Jonas Gustavsson and J.S. Guguere, the goalies supposedly capable of handling the NHL duties, rank at the bottom of the league in save percentage. However, James Reimer’s promotion from the Marlies, necessitated by Giguere’s third groin injury of the season, has highlighted the talent that lies beyond those two.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bummer in Buffalo: Canada Loses Heartbreaker

russia best wjc
I can’t go anywhere on the internet today without being reminded of the ugly scene that occurred in front of me last night. Canada held a 3-0 lead heading into the third period against the Russians in the gold medal game of the World Junior Hockey Championship. Just as the Russians were making a charge in the second Canada scored to make it 3-0, which seemingly sealed the deal. However, the Russians came back from a 3-1 deficit in the third against the Fins in the quarter-final to win 4-3 in overtime and they erased a 3-2 deficit to beat Sweden in a shootout in the semi-finals, so Canada should have been wary entering the third.

Instead, the Canadians figured the game was over, sit back, and in less than five minutes the Russians tied the game at 3 and quickly poured it on – ending the game with a decisive 5-3 victory. That’s five unanswered goals in the third. That’s Torontonian (a bit of a stretch to assume the Leafs actually can get a lead).

This is the second year in a row the Canadians have suffered a bitter defeat. Last year John Carlson scored in overtime to win gold after Jordan Eberle scored two late third period goals to force the extra frame and now the Russians throttle Canada in the third.

All the attention that gets paid to this tournament is a little overblown considering these are just teenagers. This isn’t the end of the world. The Russians get some revenge for the Jordan Eberle magic a few years ago and we Canadians get to feel the sting of defeat. I guess that’s just sports.

Losing two straight gold medal games hurts, but Canada has been in ten straight finals and recently strung together five straight gold medals. It wasn’t always like this.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Toronto Maple Leafs New Year's Resolutions

phaneuf leafs winter
The end of the year is a time for reflection and during this reflection most people realize they were generally pretty bad people the year before. People make resolutions to volunteer to help others, donate more to the poor, get fit, eat healthier, or swear at strangers less. According to Wikipedia (the ultimate source), only 12% of people actually achieve their goals. This would explain why gyms are packed in January and become as sparse as ever by February. How do I know that? I’m the one taking up space for a few futile weeks in January.

So in the spirit of the pointlessness of New Years Resolutions, let’s look at another group of (generally) useless people – your 2010-2011 Toronto Maple Leafs! Here are some people who should set goals they certainly won’t achieve.

The guys over at PPP are doing the same, but I swear it’s a matter of great minds think alike rather than me poaching their idea.

So, without further ado, here are the New Year’s Resolutions for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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