Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Top 100 Sports Blogs to Follow in 2013

I am happy to announce that Five Minutes For Fighting has been fortunate enough to be named as one of the Top 100 Sports Blogs to Follow in 2013. I slotted in at 71, which was bested by a Habs blog at 68... not that I'm bitter about that or anything.

Thanks to everyone who has read, shared, and/or commented on the blog. I'm very appreciative of all the support and hope to continue writing things you all find interesting (more Mighty Ducks columns, anyone?)

The infographic was created by Mark Wood and can been seen in its entirety after the jump.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dion Phaneuf Doesn't Suck

leafs dion phaneuf sucks
An ugly 5-2 drubbing at the hands of a Stanley Cup contender, on the heels of a painful 7-4 loss to the Islanders, and Leafs Nation is out for blood.

Captain Dion Phaneuf is taking the brunt of the criticism after posting a minus-7 over the two games. The Fan 590 didn't take long to incite a reaction from steaming fans, asking whether the captain was a buy-out candidate.

The question doesn't deserve even a moment's thought. Phaneuf is by far the Leafs' best defenceman despite what his plus/minus rating says.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

67 Reasons Why the Leafs Will Win a Stanley Cup before You Die

leafs stanley cup
Welcome to the world, new baby. Lucky you, you won your first race. And even luckier for you, you have two loving parents, ones that just happen to love the Toronto Maple Leafs. Yes, the team that hasn't won a Stanley Cup in 45 years. Man, news travels fast these days. Well, don't you worry, because any parent who truly loves their child is going to brainwash them into loving the Leafs regardless.

Plus, there are plenty of reasons why the Leafs will win a Stanley Cup in your lifetime. Here, I wrote them down.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter's Warning

This is a really cool piece of art titled Winter's Warning, created by Ian Turner, a Toronto-based freelance illustrator/artist who was kind enough to allow me to share his work.

The original version can be found on his Tumblr account. There is a lot of other neat and interesting art on his website, so you should totally check it out if you liked Winter's Warning.

toronto maple leafs art

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Randy Carlyle's Map of the Defensive Zone

One of Randy Carlyle's major challenges as the Leafs' head coach will be implementing a defensive scheme that somehow cuts down on the massive goals-against totals that have doomed the Leafs for years.

He can start by actually teaching the team about defence, something former coach Ron Wilson felt was unnecessary, apparently. In fact, Wilson didn't teach the Leafs anything about the defensive zone when he was in Toronto, not even where in the rink it was located. Poor Cody Franson was so confused he thought it was in the press box.

To combat the utter ignorance on his roster, Carlyle drew up a map of the defensive zone to help teach the Leafs how to play defence. It wasn't supposed to be leaked to the public, but I found a crumpled up copy in a trash bin after Leafs practice on Thursday. Perhaps it was tossed aside by a certain bald-headed, injury-prone centre on his way down to the minors.

Special thanks to Down Goes Brown for the inspiration for the piece and my friend, Geoff, for his input.

randy carlyle leafs defence coach

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2013 Fantasy Hockey Strategy Guide

tim thomas crazy boston bruins
Make sure you know which players are now crazy.
There are plenty of ways to make money on the internet. You can try your hand gambling by playing online poker; you could sell your vintage NHL jersey collection to the hipsters of the world on eBay; or you can dominate your friends in fantasy hockey. Yahoo! has even made it possible for people without friends to win money playing fantasy hockey.

But you can't just waltz into the online arena and expect to win money without a plan. You'll be eaten alive like the fresh fish you are.

Fret not, for I am here to help with a trusty battle guide to help you navigate the treacherous waters of draft day and beyond.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Why the Leafs Need to Send Morgan Rielly Back to Junior

morgan rielly leafs training camp
Four years ago the Leafs rushed an 18-year-old Luke Schenn to the NHL, and it looks like the team is prepared to do the same with Morgan Rielly.

“I’m gonna pick the best players,” Randy Carlyle told the Toronto Star. “If (Rielly) is among the best, I’ll have no qualms picking him because he’s 18.”

Management has echoed the coach's philosophy.

“If Morgan Rielly can help our team win, I really don’t care that he’s only 18,” Dave Nonis told the National Post. "If he’s ready, he’ll stick around."

The hope would be that Rielly could help upgrade the Leafs' blueline, one which has been near the bottom of the league for years. He is a slick-skating, puck-moving defenceman that could potentially step in and provide a reasonable facsimile of Jake Gardiner, who is currently out with a concussion.

The Leafs can give Rielly a five-game try-out (a sixth game automatically burns a year on his contract), but allowing him to make the Leafs this season, regardless of how NHL-ready he may appear, would be a monumental failure.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Leafs Fire Brian Burke

brian burke leafs fired
The most shocking Leafs news Wednesday was not a Roberto Luongo trade; it was Brian Burke's sudden firing.

Bob McKenzie first reported that Burke was being relieved of his GM duties and a press conference later in the day introduced former assistant GM Dave Nonis as his permanent replacement.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What Cap Penalty will Luongo Cost the Leafs?

roberto luongo leafs trade rumour
If the Leafs want Roberto Luongo, it's going to cost them, even when Luongo is retired.

As more details begin to emerge from the tentative CBA, we are getting a clearer picture of what is going to happen with long-term, back-diving contracts. The NHL initially wanted to hammer teams signing these monstrous deals, forcing the full cap hit upon the signing team during a contract's remaining years if a player retired early. It didn't matter if the Vancouver Canucks traded Luongo, the cap penalty would revert back to Vancouver. Now, the cap penalty will be shared among teams when a player is traded.

Originally, if the Maple Leafs traded for Luongo the long-term ramifications of his contract weren't much of a concern—it was Vancouver's problem. Now when Luongo retires, however, the Leafs will be stuck with a cap penalty, the severity of which depends on when Luongo decides to hang up the pads.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Lockout Over: Get Pumped for Leafs Hockey

Rejoice! The lockout is over.

Teams now have only a short period of time to get their rosters settled before a sprint to the playoffs. 

And you only have a short period of time to get pumped up for hockey's glorious return! I know you've already forgotten all about your empty promises to never watch hockey again, so what better way to get ready than to read the five reasons to be optimistic, pessimistic, and realistic about the 2013 Toronto Maple Leafs.

Friday, January 4, 2013

League to Union: This is the Final Offer... Seriously

bettman fehr nhl lockout
A deal needs to get done in a matter of days, or else the season will be cancelled.

At least that's what an anonymous league source has told the Winnipeg Free Press' Gary Lawless.

In Lawless' latest article the league source, a veteran member of the NHL's board of governors, says Gary Bettman is prepared to cancel the season next Thursday (Jan. 10) if the two sides cannot agree on a new CBA. Using a tired league tactic, the source lays the blame solely with Donald Fehr.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dream Team Turns into Nightmare

USA world junior hockey mccabe jones
Canada will have to wait another year before getting a shot at a gold medal.

The USA defeated Canada 5-1 in the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship semi-finals on Thursday, overwhelming a supposed dream team squad from the opening whistle to the closing horn.

The US will face Sweden in the gold medal game and Canada will take on Russia in the bronze medal game.
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