Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ron Wilson is a Good Coach

Tonight, Jason Blake sits out as the Leafs face the Bruins. Last week, he sent Stajan up to the press box. Now, say what you want about Wilson's judgment in the shootout, but this guy knows how to run a team.

A lot of his moves so far have been headline news. Why? Because the media aren't used to a coach going contrary to their views. But this guy doesn't seem to care one bit about what they think. That's why he's got the mobility to bench even the team's most exciting players - because it's time to rebuild.

All to him.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Leafs Looking Eerily Bare

Training camp is missing that large, taken for granted presence that was Mats Sundin. He leaves behind a huge void for leadership, but also in that spot he assumed season after season as the number one center.

It first hit me when I read that Wilson wants to give Mikael Grabovski, a relatively untapped prospect, the chance to fill the void. I've still got a hangover from the departure of Sundin leaving that place.

Though the 2007-2008 Leafs weren't the best team in the world, it was a relatively familiar gang. Gone now are the characters which we had all grown accustomed to - Sundin, McCabe and Tucker. We all know this was a good thing, but it's also quite hard to just start again. It's going to be a long, painful season, and I can only hope that in the next few years we will have a team that were not only proud of, but familiar with.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pack 'Yer Bags McCabe

McCabe is on his way out the door soon after the Leafs pick up the 2 million dollar contract bonus that activates on Sept 1st. The question now is what we will be getting in return, and from whom?

It's now out in the open that McCabe has agreed to waive his no-trade clause. Fletcher had been in a stalemate with McCabe's agents over the course over the summer as to what the next move would be.

It is evident that McCabe's agents knew the Leafs would not be having him back, and threatened that if they asked McCabe to stay at home and not show up for training camp, they would file a grievance with the NHL Player's Association.

McCabe's agents then pushed for the Leafs to buy out the contract, knowing that with that money in his pocket he would be willing to continue his career elsewhere.

Well, with training camp around the corner, it seems McCabe's camp has lost this battle. McCabe unofficially waived his no-trade clause this past week and told the Leaf's he would be ready to move on to a team of his choice.

On that list is Florida, which right now seems like the team that is going to take him in along with his contract. In Florida he gets a team with much less media attention, a team with players on it he has played with before, and most importantly a chance to start again.

Although he didn't exactly fall off the face of the earth this year, he had fallen so out of favour with the fans that it was beginning to effect his game.

He went from an offensively gifted defenseman and a competent all around player to a mistake prone, irresponsible player who was over-relied upon. He lost confidence to make high-risk plays because of these mistakes, and slowly retreated into a defensive mode. As a person who watches most Leaf's games, it's notable to mention that this is not the strong point of his game, at all.

Wherever McCabe goes, I wish him the best of luck in returning to the great player he was only a few seasons ago.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sundin is headed to...

Well, August first came and went for Leafs fans with no decision from the Sundin camp. But can you really say, hindsight 20/20, that this is a shock?

Do you think Sundin is the type of guy to hype up a decision he makes, to the point where hes going to give an exact date for it? No. The only reason he keeps making the headlines is because the media keeps badgering him about it, combined with the growing impatience and demand for a decision to be made by him. Sorry guys, that's not how he rolls.

If you're impatient about the situation, then at least know that he will decide sometime before training camp and leave it at that. He's not going to pull a Niedermayer.

The more speculation there is about Sundin's decision, the more people become impatient, and this compounds because people actually believe that if they're hearing more about it in the news that he is close to making a decision. Last summer I completely ignored the Sundin situation because I just couldn't be bothered. The best decision is to not think about it, because the news and media have no influence on his decision, and neither will the growing impatience of his fans.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Where's Sundin Headed?

Well, it's back to the forefront of every Leafs fans mind already. A report came out of Sweden, which was admittedly false but published anyways, that Sundin had agreed to play for Vancouver on a two year contract. In lieu of this, Sundin issued a statement saying that he will not begin to think about what team he wants to play for until he is certain he will be ready to play another hockey season.

So when that time comes, what is he going to say?

Well, if you know Mats then you know how long it takes for him to make up his mind. He knows that time is on his side, and he's going to make the most of it. It's evident that he'll be back in the NHL, because the money is just too good to pass up right now. It's awfully hard to turn down a 20 million offer for two seasons of hockey, no matter how old you are. J.P. Barry, Sundin's agent, thinks he'll be back as well.

Several sources have said he is leaning towards Vancouver, while others insist it's back to the Leafs or retirement.

I personally don't see Mats back with the Leafs. Even if the team is still on his shortlist, Mats is relieved of the pressure of 'abandoning' his team, now that its clear they are not trying to make the playoffs and don't really 'need' him to give that extra push that might take them from 10th to 8th.

I think Sundin is likely to go to Vancouver over Detroit and Montreal simply because he'll be able to be the same sort of player he was in Toronto - relied upon as a leader and a scorer. It might just be his best fit.


Thursday, July 3, 2008


I'll be going to my cottage today until Monday, so I will not be posting at all.

I can assure you that Sundin will not make a decision about his hockey career between now and then!

Hopefully Fletcher will have found another defenceman, literally assuring that McCabe will not be in our lineup come October.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

McCabe Allegedly Not In Leafs Plans

Conversation on AM 640 yesterday:

"Brady: (Talking about how the defense is full and asking if it means the Leafs will need to make a move)

Fletcher: We're going to be signing another defenseman in the next couple days so I count 7 defenseman.

Watters: Does that include Bryan McCabe?

Fletcher: No it does not."

Fletcher has also mentioned that he is looking for another UFA D-man.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Leafs Free Agency Notes

Leafs sign Jeff finger for 4 years at 3.5 million a season, Cujo returns for 1 year at 700,000, and Niklas Hagman for 4 years at 12 million.

Who the hell is Jeff Finger? I think the only reason I know who this guy's name is because it's a wierd one.

How did Cliff get pushed into offering him 3.5 a pop? Was he drunk? That shows you how desperate the Leafs are for young talent.

Finger's stock will go up this year and narrow the gap of what he's worth and what he's being paid, so whatever.

But that is no excuse at all. If you look at Detroit, they tend to sign players for what theyre worth at the time, then slowly get a bargain as they improve. The Leafs prefer to gamble that they will improve after they've lured them a with big pay raise. But it hasn't worked that way for many of the Leafs in recent history, has it?

Signing Hagman is a good short term decision. He's in a good age-zone at 28, and had a coming out party last season in Dallas with a 27-goal performance.

Hagman is a bit inconsistent at times, and will definitely fit in with the mediocre forward contingency the Leafs have.

And how about CUJO! Anyone else think this is a splendid deal? When I first read about the possibility I assumed it was just another one of those recurring rumours that would never go away, and never happen. What d'ya know, he's back with the buds for one last run.


Blog Going In New Direction: Let's Talk Leafs!

I'll have to be frank, and come out clean: I am a Leafs fan. Therefore, in order for me to keep publishing quality, relevant content I am going to start talking primarily about the world of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It should be an interesting time. Go Leafs!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

How to Win a Trade

Winning a trade in Fantasy Hockey simply isn't the same as real life. There are no financial agendas, no playoff implications, and no chemistry issues. It is simply a matter of both parties trying to win. Therefore, the only way a trade is going to take place is if both sides think they're winning. I will give you a step by step of how you should make a such a trade.

Do you lack depth? Is that why you are making the trade? Before you make a trade to get more depth in one position, stop yourself and think 'despite the fact that I need to trade for a guy in a certain position, am I getting the better players?' If the answer is no, don't do it. You're probably looking to trade with the wrong team.

ALWAYS trade fairly when you are trading across different positions. If you really want to make a big difference on your team, it won't necessarily happen with a single trade. Thus, to get more tradable assets, you are going to need to make a few 'fair' trades. If you make these, other managers will get the feeling that you are a trustworthy trader. Once you have made your fair trades to acquire depth in the positions you plan to exploit, wait to see what others lack.

Now, turn your attention to another team. Find who lacks depth at a certain position. They will likely be willing to trade and lose if it gets them more 'depth'. It is one of those nonsensical logics in fantasy hockey which managers tend to do to get the feeling that they're actually doing something healthy for their team.

Obviously, if they are a good manager, they will be unlikely to trade some talented stud who's on a cold streak for some unproven player who's on a bit of a roll. Therefore, do not risk breaking down the trade by sending an insulting offer. The number one priority at this stage is to create the illusion that the other team is - at best - getting a fair return. Once you have worked this out, you should end up with a slightly better roster overall.

At this stage you should probably not rush into another trade. Give it a week or two then start to think about things. I stress this because A) you need to see how your previous trade is working out and B) you don't want to appear like you're trying to ravage the league of good players.

Let's review the steps of how to win a trade:
Step One: Assess your teams strengths and weaknesses
Step Two: Make a fair trade to give more depth to your weak areas
Step Three: Make another trade, preferably with a different manager than before, to help them get 'depth' in which you slightly win
Step Four: Repeat the process when suitable

Obviously some leagues are different than the one's I'm basing this on, and so, I'm expecting everyone to use their head whilst trading. My main concern is that you don't make too many trades and end up losing talent. As a rule of thumb, I'm assuming everyone reading knows a thing or two about the players in the NHL and their fantasy worth. Good luck!

If you liked this post, then consider subscribing to my full feed RSS.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Crosby vs. Lecavalier meets a fine point on Friday

I remember back in the rookie season of Sid the Kid, things seemed to be all about Crosby and Ovechkin.

Well, with that season well in the past and Crosby well ahead in both points and attention, its easy to see why the media has looked for others to compete with him for superstardom. As it stands, Lecavalier and Crosby are part of a three way tie for first with Ilya Kovalchuk.

On Friday we will see the two play each other in what may turn out to be an interesting game. Sure, neither of the two turned up on the scoreboard after their last matchup, but boy was it ever evident that they wanted to. Whether he likes to admit it or not, Crosby has an insatiable desire to be better than everyone else. With the scoring lead in sight in 06-07, he put up 6 points to get himself there. And while playing Ovechkin and the Capitals he has always pulled out the theatrics as well as the points.

In the previous game between the Penguins and Lightning, there were an uncommon number of memorable moments. One minute Sid was taking a shot with one hand on the stick and the next Vinny was getting robbed by Conklin. Even if neither puts up points - which is statistically almost impossible to happen for a second time - it is sure to be an exciting game.

Tampa Bay will be at Pittsburgh on Friday the 18th of January at 7:30 PM ET. Not to be missed.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Why Sidney Crosby Will Win the Art Ross

Everyone in the NHL knows its going to happen soon. They're not sure if it will happen in a day or a month, but the general consensus should be that sooner or later, Crosby will be in the scoring race lead.

Why? It's obvious. He's the best player. As it stands Crosby is one point behind Ilya Kovalchuk whom he has two games in hand over, and two points behind Lecavalier who has played one extra game.

Reasons why he will win again:
  • Crosby is the top assist getter. Sometimes he can't find the back of the net, but his ability to help others light the lamp is almost always there.
  • Kovalchuk on pace for 66 goals halfway through the season? Not likely to actually happen.
  • Lecavalier is not as consistent, and may rely too much on other teammates. Who knows if he goes through a point drought in the last few games of the season.
  • Pittsburgh are on a roll; Tampa Bay are doing terribly. As we know Crosby doesn't like losing. A winning environment and a playoff contender is a great place for youngsters to flourish.
This may all seem relatively obvious, but as it currently stands, Lecavalier is above Crosby on the Yahoo! Big Board. Watch for that to change, just like the perspectives of everybody who said Lecavalier was the better player.



morrow0000 @ g mail dot com