November 23, 2009
1. When it's all said and done for Jason Blake, I hope he donates his brain to science so we, as a people, can better understand some of his on-ice decisions. I've spent the better part of two seasons defending Blake's play and salary - his salary, not the length of his contract - but even I know where to draw the line. The fact that he's on pace for eight goals, with still two seasons left on his deal, makes it difficult to fall asleep at night.
2. What, exactly, does Luke Schenn do well? He's by no means fleet of foot, has nothing that resembles an NHL-caliber slap and/or wrist shot, doesn't move the puck exceptionally well, and has looked lost in the defensive zone on far too many occasions this season. I know he's no Drew Doughty, who put up excellent offensive numbers with the Guelph Storm, and I shouldn't compare the two of them, but are my expectations for Schenn out of touch for a guy the Maple Leafs traded up to draft, and selected fifth overall?
3. When Phil Kessel sets up shop on his off-wing on the power play, he reminds me of Mats Sundin. This warms my heart.
4. Has there been a more snake-bitten Maple Leaf forward this season than Nikolai Kulemin? He seems quicker on his feet, and is a solid forechecker, but three goals through 18 games is nothing but disappointing.
5. According to Jeff Blair, "John Mitchell looks like he's flat-lined into a fourth-line player." I want to argue, but I can't.
6. In the soul-crushing years post-lockout, I've allowed my expectations for certain young Maple Leafs defensemen to reach absolutely ridiculous levels. I led myself to believe that guys like Jay Harrison, Staffan Kronwall, Brendan Bell, Anton Stralman, Jaime Sifers, and even Andy Wozniewski, were credible NHL defensemen, destined for stardom, whom the Leafs found Detroit-style in the draft. Add Carl Gunnarsson's name to that list.
7. I'm not sure why, or when, it happened, but Lee Stempniak has become a favourite.
8. Speaking of Stempniak, Carlo Colaiacovo has already missed nine games this young season. Shocking.
9. Fire Ron Wilson. Hire Wayne Gretzky. He may not be the best coach out there, but he was destined to be a Maple Leaf one day.
10. The Maple Leafs consistently outwork their opponents. They outshoot their opponents 61-21. (And still lose.) So, does anybody else wish Gary Roberts would shut the fuck up?
11. Tomas Kaberle is one of the finest defenseman, and point-producers, to ever play for the Maple Leafs. My man crush on #15 borders on the twisted. But in another life, I'd love to see him play centre.
12. It was a lot easier to hate on the Leafs when one of the inmates, John Ferguson Jr., was running the asylum. While the Brian Burke era is still in its infancy, there's something deeply, deeply disturbing about the fact this team has won four of 22 games.
13. Christian Hanson is producing at a point-per-game pace down on the farm. Alex Foster was just named the American Hockey League's player of the week. Yet if anyone gets the call, I hope it's Jiri Tlusty. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I need him to succeed at the NHL level. And for the sake of my quickly deteriorating mental health, it must happen this season.
14. If the Chicago Blackhawks aren't willing to include a second-round draft pick in any Brent Sopel related deal with Toronto, and assign him to the minors, and he refuses to report, what happens to his salary vis-a-vis the cap?
15. As a fan, there's no worse feeling than when the Leafs lose to the New York Islanders. I believe Brian Burke had "truculence" confused with "suckulence." (ZING!!!1)
16. I wonder if Niklas Hagman regrets signing with Toronto. I hope he doesn't, but I would. Hagman's a treat to watch, and an absolute steal at $3 million a season.
17. Not Leafs related, but it's disrespectful to power forwards worldwide when Guillame Latendresse is called one.
18. How does Elliotte Friedman come up with 30 of these?
19. I once met Elliotte Friedman. At Cowboys in Calgary. He was super inebriated. Like any good journalist should be.
20. I hate @DHSpeedwagon. He is pure evil.
21. The Leafs have picked up four points in their last three games. That's .666 hockey. Playoffs!!1