April 20, 2007

Return To Vinsanity

It's been a hell of a long time since I checked in. First of all, that picture right there is a beautiful one. It speaks for itself. Congratulations to the Toronto Raptors. These dinosaurs were on the brink of extinction, but a miracle took place this past season. The miracle known as Bryan Colangelo.

The party is just getting started, though. The man once known so fondly as "Air Canada" is set to touch down in Toronto Saturday afternoon at 12:30 pm.

Raptors and Nets. The past vs the future. Oh mommy, it's going to be a doozy!

I have to admit, I'm worried. All Vince Carter, the ungrateful whore, has ever needed to be one of the best players in the NBA is motivation. Twenty thousand fans booing his name, and calls for his head to be delivered on a stake to the Toronto fans, yeah, I'd definitely call that motivation. Carter has the talent to win a series by himself, and we all know there's nothing more he would love than to stick it to Toronto, yet again. He's a bastard, he gets off on pissing us off.

And the Raptors most experienced playoff player is Darrick Martin. Yeah, the dude who's half-coach, half-player. I love him, but the Nets have all the experience in the world.

I also stumbled upon a shocking statistic that blew me away. Vince Carter played every game for the Nets this season. All 82! He didn't miss a single game! It's the first time he's played a full season since the 1999-2000 season. In the past two years, Carter has only missed three games. It's been quite the turn around for the man, I mean whore, who went from being called "Half Man, Half Amazing" to "Half Man, Half Season."

I still think the Raptors are a better team and play a better game. But the prospect of Carter lighting it up and the Nets winning this series just scares me. But it's fitting. The Raps have to slay the demons that Carter left behind, and I believe this is a great team, one that could reach the NBA Finals. The East is wide open, and if the Raptors play the team game they have played so well this year, they should be able to beat the one man show known as VC.

I'm ready for playoff basketball. I don't even remember the last time the Raptors were in the playoffs. I think it was that time when Chris Childs thought the Raptors were down by 4 points, but were only down by three, and he jacked up a 2-pointer in the dying seconds. What a moron.

It's a good thing the Maple Leafs are already golfing. Had they been in the playoffs, the Raptors would have been overshadowed by lunatics like myself who inexplicably put a solid and exciting Raptors squad second fiddle to Maple Leafs hockey. It's all about the dinos in Toronto right now, and they deserve it.

Speaking of those beloved Maple Leafs, I have to admit that April, and the NHL playoffs, are just not the same with the Buds on the sidelines. I've watched a few games, but the excitement and passion levels just aren't the same, naturally. When the Leafs are in the playoffs the vibe in this city is just great. It's been a while since a playoff hockey game was played in the T Dot. I miss it, I really do.

On a side note, I've adopted the Vancouver Canucks as my defacto playoff team. I've always had a soft spot for that beautiful city on the west coast, and plus, they have Roberto Luongo. He's so dreamy. Sometimes, I just sit at my window, staring out at the city, daydreaming about him. What a magnificent goalie. Life just isn't fair...

Anyways, the Leafs' run to the post-season came down to the final day of the regular season, and it was fitting that they lost not only in the shootout, but on a poke check by that fellow known as Dubie.

It was a crazy run by the Leafs. Another mad dash at the end of the season to get a playoff spot, and it just fell short, like last season. The final game between Toronto and Montreal was one for the ages. The Leafs knew they had to win, and get help from New Jersey, in order to make it. They did their job, just barely. That was one of the craziest hockey games I have ever seen. It was brutally played, but boy was it entertaining. Leads were blown, saves weren't made, but at the end the Leafs were left standing. It was probably the biggest game between Montreal and Toronto in the last 50 years and the Leafs crushed the playoff dreams of the Montreal Canadiens.

The joy wouldn't last, as the Islanders crushed the Leafs' playoff dreams a day later. That was another ridiculous game. Brodeur got the day off for the Devils, which was no surprise, but the Devils still made a game of it, sending the match to overtime with only 0.9 seconds left. The Leafs needed the Isles to lose, any which way, but it wasn't to be. The Isles won their shootout, and capped a remarkable last week to their season, in which they won their final four games, including a decisive win over the Leafs.

The Maple Leafs had no one to blame but themselves. Had they beaten the Isles two days before the Habs game, they would have been in the playoffs. They just simply didn't get it done. It was telling that in the biggest game of the season, Raycroft got pulled for Aubin. This is the guy who is supposed to be our number one goalie! Pulled in the biggest game of his life. It was a pathetic display of goaltending, and pretty much was all year.

You suck, Andrew Raycroft.

What blew my mind even more was two days after finishing a point ouf of a playoff spot, and cleaning out his locker, Raycroft told the media he was really happy with his season, because he got to play a lot and won a lot of games.

It's good to know the players, especially guys like Raycroft, give a shit. Sure he won 37 games, but that doesn't make up for the fact that all his other stats were disgusting. Yet he was proud of himself for not making the playoffs. What does it matter to these guys? They get a longer vacation and more golfing time. There's a culture of losing that has surounded the Toronto Maple Leafs, and to see them smiling and happy after missing the playoffs was disgusting.

It was a good run. The last few weeks of the season, those were my playoffs. It was an interesting season, and guys like White, Colaiacovo, Pohl and Devereaux really stepped up. Sundin had a decent season, but really slumped goal scoring wise down the stretch. Antropov proved he can be a solid NHLer and Poni got 21 goals, much to the delight of me and my wallet.

Hands down, Kaberle was the Leafs' MVP this season. He's the man.

Raycroft blows. I know this bum will be back in goal for the Leafs next season, and it will just prove that nothing ever changes with the Maple Leafs. It's the same old bullshit, the same old lies that they are putting the best team together in order to win. It's all lies. If they were putting the best team together, they'd go and sign J.S. Giguere in the off season, who's a free agent.

For the first time in recent memory, the Leafs head into the off season without any questions on defense. The top six is set, and everyone is under contract. It's the offense that needs to be addressed. Guys like Devereaux and Battaglia and Antropov need to all be resigned.

See ya later, and thanks for nothing, Jeff O'Neill, Yanic Perreault, and J.S. Aubin. If the Leafs can get Peca's name on a contract for $1.5 million max, they should do it. Otherwise, say goodbye to him too.

As for Sundin, he needs to take a paycut. If he's serious about winning a cup in Toronto he needs to free up some cash so the Leafs can make a run at some serious free agents. I want to see one of Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, or Ryan Smyth in the blue and white next year. It simply has to be done. The Leafs need another legitimate goal scorer. I'd love to get Drury, but I know that's probably just a dream. Paul Kariya's also a free agent. In my wildest dreams, the Leafs would land Drury and Giggy, but I know that's not going to happen. We're stuck with that lame excuse of a goalie, and those free agents are going to get top dollar.

At the end of the day, Sundin isn't worth $6 million. He needs to be around the $4 million mark. Do it, Mats. You've made enough coin, lets try and win now.

As you can see, the Leafs have sucked forever, at least since I've been a fan, yet here I am, already making plans for next year. I have issues. Help me.

As for my Jays, the injury bug has already hit them, and hard. What the hell is going on in Toronto when it comes to injuries and our pro-sports teams? Throw me a freakin bone here! It's getting out of control.

Troy Glaus and Brandon League are on the DL. Reed Johnson's out for two months with back spasms and B.J. Ryan is out a minimum of six weeks with elbow issues. Unbelievable.

The Jays have a decent team, but I don't think they have what it takes to get to the playoffs, especially with all the injuries. Halladay's been awesome to start the year while Burnett has been his usual inconsistent self. It seems as though A.J. will just never be able to put it all together.

Tomo Ohka's been pretty bad, and I was counting on that Japanese cat. What a disappointment. Even Josh Towers has won a game, and he looked fantastic doing it, dominating the Detroit Tigers. Yes, freakin Josh Towers.

The bullpen, without B.J. Ryan, is looking really, really weak. I think the Blue Jays really made a huge mistake in underestimating the value of Justin Speier. He was the most underrated reliever in all of baseball last year. He was lights out in the 8th inning and was the perfect man to pass the ball to B.J. Ryan. I know that League pitched great last year, but having him on the DL is killing the Jays right now. Instead of Speier in the 8th, the Jays are handing the ball to Shawn Marcum or Casey Janssen. That's just not good enough.

I have confidence in Jason Frasor to close out ballgames while BJ is out, but at the end of the day, we need BJ. We love BJ. And Frasor's no BJ.

I'm just kind of down on the Jays right now. Things are looking bleak. Hopefully, the rest of the guys on this team can stay healthy and pick it up while guys are injured. Frank Thomas has looked pretty brutal 3 weeks into the season. That's bound to turn around.

On a positive note, I love John McDonald. What a serviceable guy. And boy does he play some awesome defense.

And how about Aaron Hill? You heard it here first. This kid's going to be an all-star. It could even happen this year if he keeps it up. He's a great hitter and he's showing some Orlanda Hudson-esque range at second base. This guy's a keeper.

Here's hoping the Jays can show the same resiliency the Maple Leafs and, more importantly, the Raptors, showed in their respective seasons.

As for me, it's off to Boston. Fenway Park, here I come. Sunday night at 8pm, Yankees vs Red Sox. It doesn't really get much better than that.

Go Raptors!!!!!!1

Goodnight, Toronto...